Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton the Only Team-mate to Fernando Alonso ‘Better Than Me’ – Esteban Ocon

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Esteban Ocon says it is ‘strange’ that he does not get the recognition he feels he deserves for being as close as he is to Fernando Alonso during their time as team-mates at the BWT Alpine F1 Team.

Ocon currently has more points that Alonso during the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, and he took the team’s one and only victory since returning to the sport after winning the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Looking back into Formula 1 history, the Frenchman feels only Lewis Hamilton has been better than him whilst Alonso’s team-mate, so for him to be perceived in a different way is baffling.

“I don’t read everything that is said about me, but I hope that when I do something good, it is reported as such, and that others can get an idea,” said Ocon to Motorsport.com.

“But it is true that there are some people who say to me ‘ah, I didn’t notice your qualifying at Spa’, or ‘I forgot you won last year’. I admit that I find it a bit strange.

“In the end in qualifying, compared with Fernando, it is 9/7 to him, but I have a few more points in the standings. Last year, if we talk about qualifying, we finished the season in a draw: 11 to 11.

“If I look at Fernando’s career, the only team-mate at his level was Lewis. Everyone else has not done better than me.

“Personally, I feel that I am doing a good job, yes. So it is a bit strange at times to see that on the outside there are those who perceive in a slightly different way.”

Ocon says he has laughed at the suggestions made prior to becoming Alonso’s team-mate that his Formula 1 career would be ended going up against the two-time World Champion, and he feels both drivers have worked well alongside each other and learned off one another.

“Yeah, I heard it too, but I’m still here, right?” Ocon added.  “It is a nice comparison from where we started last year, both in qualifying and in the races.

“Fernando is very, very fast. I don’t think he has anything to prove to anyone. To those who say if I have learned from Fernando, I answer ‘certainly’. But I hope that he too could have learned something from me.”

The one thing Ocon knows he must do is remain at the top of his game as Daniel Ricciardo’s uncertain future within Formula 1 testifies.  Ricciardo will lose his drive at the McLaren F1 Team to Oscar Piastri next season and has yet to find himself a seat on the grid in another outfit.

“I understand that there is nothing guaranteed in Formula 1,” Ocon said. “Even if you have won a race, even if you have stood up to a double world champion like Fernando, you are not sure of having a guaranteed future.

“We have the example of Daniel. Two years ago, he was in the top-driver group and today he doesn’t have the guarantee of a seat for next season. You must always be at the top, and be sure to never give up.”

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Long time motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1 and the occassional other series. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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