Only Hamilton has done a better job as Alonso’s F1 teammate

The Frenchman is expected to lead the Alpine team in 2023 after Alonso left for Aston Martin.

But while Ocon is raved about by his team, who are committed to him through the end of 2024, he recognizes that outsiders sometimes don’t see his job.

Because he reckons that after his strong performance against Alonso, which included his first win in Hungary last year, only Lewis Hamilton as the Spaniard’s team-mate has done better than him.

Speaking to about his reputation in the paddock, Ocon said: “I don’t read everything that is said about me, but I hope that if I do something good it will be reported as such and that others can benefit from the idea.

“But it’s true that some people 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 odd.

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“At the end of qualifying compared to Fernando it’s 9/7 for him but I have a few points more in the general standings (Ocon has 66 compared to Alonso’s 59). Last year, when we talk about qualifying, we ended the season in a draw: 11 to 11.

“If I look at Fernando’s career, Lewis was the only teammate at his level. Everyone else didn’t do better than me.

“I personally feel like I’m doing a good job, yes. So it’s sometimes a bit strange to see that there are people out there who perceive something differently.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team, Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team,

Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Team, Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team,

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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Ocon says he smiles now as he recalls how many times he’s been told his F1 career was coming to an end with Alonso – making him particularly proud that he’s gotten out of their time together so well.

Asked about the doomsday predictions, Ocon said, “Yeah, I heard it too, but I’m still here, right?

“It’s 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 to prove anything to anyone. To those who say if I learned from Fernando, I answer “certainly”. But I hope that he was also able to learn something from me.”

While Ocon is happy with his career progression in Formula 1 and looks forward to the next two years with Alpine, he knows he cannot afford to sit back and think his place on the grid is secured.

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He cites the example of Daniel Ricciardo, who could face a year on the sidelines in 2023 after two difficult seasons at McLaren.

“I understand that nothing is guaranteed in Formula 1,” he said. “Even if you’ve won a race, even if you’ve competed against a double world champion like Fernando, you don’t have a guaranteed future.

“We have the example of Daniel. Two years ago he was in the top group of riders and today he has no seat guarantee for next season. You always have to be on top and never give up.”

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