Why Ocon’s Victory in Hungary Still Leaves Alpine F1 Director in Disbelief

Published 08/10/2021, 11:11 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Alpine’s Esteban Econ in action REUTERS/Florion Goga


The Hungarian Grand Prix was a rollercoaster race, the likes of which have not been seen in F1 in a long time. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took the lead of the race after the restart and held on to it till the very end of the race. It was a surprising win for everyone involved, and Alpine Executive Director Marcin Budkowski still can’t fully believe that it happened.

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Even though the Frenchman was the race leader for most of the race, the team did not believe that they were winning till the last three laps. In fact, they were certain that Hamilton would pass Ocon before the end of the race.

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All of our strategy tools showed us that Lewis overtook us: Marcin Budkowski

While Budkowski praised Ocon’s efforts to keep Sebastian Vettel at bay, he admitted that he was so tenses about the race that he didn’t think the Frenchman would win.

As reported by Motorsport-Total, he said, “He didn’t do anything wrong at all, he did everything right.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 17, 2021, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon during practice REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

“All of our strategy tools showed us that Lewis overtook us before the end of the race and won the race. But all these strategy tools are just math. They are statistics. They assume that Lewis will overtake the slower cars, which he did,” said Budkowski.

But what the tools didn’t take into account was Ocon’s legendary teammate, Fernando Alonso, having his back. The Spaniard defended P3 from Hamilton was nearly 10 laps, which significantly ruined the Briton’s chances of getting to Ocon in time.

“Every lap that he was behind Fernando, the moment when Lewis caught up with Esteban and overtook him, pushed back.”

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Budkowski explained how the team managed Ocon‘s race whilst he was leading the race. And given how well the Frenchman was driving, the Alpine F1 director thinks he might not have needed Alonso’s help at all.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Alpine’s Esteban Ocon celebrates with teammate Fernando Alonso after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Florion Goga

“There were moments after the pit stop and when he lapped other cars where he felt vulnerable and he could have lost his position. But otherwise, he had everything under control and it well managed his pace. We did him all Races asked to save fuel. He had to save fuel while he had to keep Sebastian behind him. He did it absolutely perfectly,” said Budkowski.

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“According to the statistics, we thought Lewis overtook Fernando first, then Seb, and then Esteban. But who knows, maybe Esteban would have kept Lewis behind too? Maybe he wouldn’t have needed Fernando at all?”

But let’s hear it from you. Do you think Ocon could’ve done it without his teammate’s help?

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Devang Chauhan

348 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sport Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been a ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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