Esteban Ocon wants answers for his struggles in the Russian Grand Prix after learning he and Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso differed in their approach in Sochi.
Alonso qualified in sixth ahead of Ocon in ninth on Sunday, but while the Spaniard fought in the top 10 for the majority of the race – and even rose to third at one stage – his younger teammate slipped backwards as the race went on. After eventually finishing 14th, Ocon admits it was a tough experience to not have a competitive car while Alonso was fighting at the sharp end.
“Probably one of the most difficult Sundays of the year,” Ocon said. “I think the positive was the start and the first couple of laps, that was pretty good. I gained a bit of ground at the start and we managed to stick in a good position for the first couple of laps, but after that it was pretty tricky pace-wise.
“We were lacking quite a lot of lap time lap-by-lap and losing ground to the car in front, not being able to attack or defend against any of them. Quite a lot of things for us to review, quite a lot of work before getting to Turkey, but we will find what was wrong at this race and come back stronger at the next one.’
When trying to look for reasons why there was such a gap between the two Alpine cars, Ocon says he was already wary of the fact that he and Alonso had gone in different ways with set-up in Russia, despite wanting similar things at previous circuits.
“The cars were very similar in terms of set-up at the last three or four races – pretty much identical – but there’s been quite a lot of deviation at this race and we don’t have the same comments anymore from this race. We have a couple of ideas what it could be, and we’re looking at fixing it for the next race.
“There is no particular reason. I feel good at the wheel, like I’ve been feeling good at Monza or Zandvoort the same. So there is no particular reason on my side.”