Ocon savors ‘fantastic moment’ of breakthrough win

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Ocon savors ‘fantastic moment’ of breakthrough win

Formula 1

Ocon savors ‘fantastic moment’ of breakthrough win


Esteban Ocon struggled to express the emotions of his first Formula 1 victory after taking a shock win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Frenchman started eighth on the grid but emerged from the Turn 1 carnage in second place as Valtteri Bottas wiped out the Red Bulls and Lando Norris while Lance Stroll accounted for Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo. Then a bizarre restart after a red flag period saw leader Lewis Hamilton end up as the only driver on the grid on intermediates as the remaining field entered the pits for slicks, and the strategic error enabled Alpine driver Ocon take over a lead he would not relinquish.

“I mean, what a fantastic moment,” Ocon said. “I don’t have much words, to be fair. It’s crazy. We were just talking about it with the team not too long ago, that the next step to get for us would be the top step, as we did P2 last year. We were not expecting that to be today, for sure!

“I can be thankful for the trust the team put in me, you know? We come from a moment where three difficult races, the team trusted me on that. We overcame the difficult situation and found our pace back in Silverstone and this weekend, I think it has been a great quali and a fantastic race.

“Of course there has been a lot of incidents in that race but you know, as we are in the position, we are chasing opportunities the whole time. Today we got it, so what a moment. I will remember that forever.

“It is an awesome moment in my career. It’s the first win for the Renault Group since they came back in Formula 1. After what we’ve been through, after the difficult times, just the trust that they’ve put in me, I’m glad that they get this reward.

Ocon also praised his teammate Fernando Alonso, who finished fifth, after the Spaniard held Lewis Hamilton at bay for a number of laps in a thrilling battle that ensured the seven-time world champion finished two seconds adrift in third.

“I also want to say a special thanks to Fernando who has been fighting like a lion in that race, because that probably contributed also to giving us a gap, giving us a bit of a breather,” Ocon said.

“I received a lot of bad comments about Fernando before he joined the team and I tell you that we are forming a great duo together — we are pushing the team in the same direction and hopefully it’s the first win of many for us and hopefully we can share a podium.”