Esteban Ocon was the sole BWT Alpine F1 Team driver to finish the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in the points, despite having started from the pit-lane.
Ocon drove one of the best races of his Formula 1 career so far, after finishing eighth at the Miami International Autodrome. The Frenchman who missed Qualifying following a heavy crash in Free Practice 3, started the race on the hard compound and ran deep into the fifty-seven lap race.
Ocon was one of a few drivers to capitalise on the race’s late safety car, which was brought out as a result of Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly colliding on the exit of Turn 7. With the safety car out, Ocon lost very little time during his pit-stop, putting him in ninth spot by the time the safety car period ended.
Initially Ocon crossed the line in ninth but inherited eighth-place, after Fernando Alonso was awarded a five-second time penalty for a collision with Gasly.
The Alpine driver was delighted with his performance and is hoping the team can “keep that momentum”.
“What a race! A big thank you to the team for all the hard work overnight putting back together what was a pretty broken car after that big shunt in practice on Saturday. They are the real stars this weekend. For me, it feels great to come away with points after starting from the back of the grid and I’m definitely leaving happy after such a tough day yesterday.
“The car and the strategy were great, it was a well-managed race and we’re capping off an exhilarating first race weekend in Miami in style. Now we need to keep that momentum as we head back to Europe for the next round.”
Collision with Pierre Gasly “my fault” – Fernando Alonso
It was a scrappy race for Alonso, who lost out on his eighth-place finish after dive-bombing Gasly at Turn 1. The Spaniard’s attempt was audacious and resulted in damage for Gasly, who collided with Norris later on that same lap as a result of his earlier collision.
As a result Alonso was awarded a five-second time penalty, dropping him behind only his team-mate.
Following the race Alonso explained how the collision with Gasly was his fault, but that he was happy to be back in the top ten.
“I’m happy to be back in the points today. In the race I made some good moves at the start and gained some positions. We were a bit unlucky with the timing of the Safety Car and some others were quite fortunate. We were probably in the fight for seventh or eighth without it.
“I then made a mistake when I tried to overtake Pierre [Gasly], which was my fault and I apologise. Overall, I think our race pace seemed to be good. It was also very hot and humid, so it was quite challenging physically for us. We’ll take the points today as I think we deserved it.”
After speaking to the media though, Alonso was awarded a second, five-second time penalty. The second penalty was awarded a few hours after the race, it was deemed that the Double World Champion ran-off the circuit and gained an advantage.
When this penalty was added to Alonso’s finishing time, the Spaniard dropped from ninth to eleventh, elevating Alex Albon and Lance Stroll up a place each.