Ocon handled ‘critical’ engine issues to avoid Alpine’s double retirement RaceFans

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Alpine was in danger of seeing both its cars withdraw from the Mexican Grand Prix, as Esteban Ocon revealed the extent of his efforts to ensure he reached the checkered flag.

Ocon finished one lap in eighth place last weekend at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. His team-mate Fernando Alonso retired eight laps from the finish after falling to ninth place with a deteriorating engine block problem.

In what he described as a “damage limitation” race, Ocon had to deal with “lots of cooling issues throughout the course, having to lift-and-coast for much of the race.” The unrelated issue with Alonso didn’t arise until later in the race, but Ocon had to spend the whole afternoon dealing with high temperatures that threatened to end his race early.

“I couldn’t really attack to the maximum. Lots of things for us to review,” Ocon said. “Hopefully we will come back stronger in the last two.

“The team said it’s essential that I have to do a lot of seconds of lift and uphill, and when you do that obviously you’re not accelerating. So you lose a lot of lap time, especially on a track. like this one. We succeeded, we finished the race, which is the most important. But we lost important points today as a team.

By scoring four points, Ocon reduced the amount McLaren ate into Alpine’s points advantage in the battle for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Rival teams enter the final two events separated by seven points.

After the race, Alonso claimed his Alpine was much more prone to end-of-race issues than his teammate’s. Ocon, who has finished all but two races so far this year, said he has also encountered various problems this year.

“I broke the gearbox at Imola, I broke the car at Silverstone, I [retired] in Singapore. I can count on them too on my side. We both had problems.

“But we’re happy with the team’s strategy to push the pace of the car ahead of reliability. That was always the team’s goal. Today was a bit unexpected, so something to understand for us.

“I also changed six engines like him, obviously I brought one today. We are on the same number of engines.

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Mexican Grand Prix 2022

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