The French driver held the lead in as many as 65 of the 70 laps of the Hungarian Grand Prix and recorded his first F1 victory… When Esteban Ocon suddenly found himself in the lead during the race for the Hungarian GP, many thought he would not be able to hold on to that position.
However, despite the fact that he has not had a similar experience of fighting to win since 2015 when he competed in the GP3 series, the Alpine team driver maintained his composure and concentration and successfully kept Sebastian Vettel behind his back.
“I didn’t feel like I was rusty in that regard. It is easier to fight forward as was the case now, to keep under control the rivals who are behind, than to be in the fight of the middle order that are otherwise our reality.
It's a lot harder, so we had a good training all the time. " "The fight in the middle of the order is much harder than what is happening at the top. It was hard because Seb was creating a lot of pressure, bothering me, but when you’re ahead you can use clean air.
Then you have the opportunity to dictate the pace on a track like this, ”Ocon explained.
The Frenchman found himself in the lead thanks to the wrong decision of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. When restarting the race after the red flag, the Briton did not decide to immediately go to the box to change the tires, which everyone else did, and actually, he did a good thing.
Lewis consequently fell to the back, and by the end of the race, he managed to break through to third place. "Lewis doesn't usually make the wrong decisions - never. I’ve never seen him make the wrong decision and then go to boxing while holding second place in the standings, it broke my heart a little at first, but I’m glad we did it because we were far ahead after that.
The guys did a great stop, ”commented the Alpine driver. It was just one poorly done stop that confirmed Ocon’s status at the top of the order. Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin had a good opportunity to undercut, but the tire change was not done ideally and Ocon managed to get back ahead after his stop.
Clearly, Vettel was disqualified after the race, but at the time it was a turning point in the race. “That slower tire change with Sebastian probably made a difference because otherwise, they would have made us undercut.
That's why I have to praise once again the guys in the garage, the top job on their part ", says the sensational winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix.