For many, Esteban Or with he would be the sacrificial victim of Fernando Alonso’s return. The ‘fury’ of the Spaniard would have fallen on the youngest teammate, too inexperienced to equal the mastery of the two times world mate. And instead the Frenchman got away very well. Of course, Alonso remains Alonso, that is a phenomenon, even at the age of 40. But Ocon proved to be a real driver, a boy who did not let himself be subjugated by Nando but who – indeed – took advantage of his presence in the pits to grow every day.
The confrontation between the two smiled at Alonso, but those who predicted a massacre were strongly disappointed. The points in the standings say 81-74 for the Spaniard, certainly not a sidereal gap. Perfect equality, however, for the placings in qualifying (11-11) and in the race (9-9 when both reached the finish line). And the Alpine gem is due precisely to this ability of its drivers to team up: the reference is obviously to the Hungaroring, where the French team won a sensational victory with Ocon; probably, it would not have come without Alonso’s champion defense against Lewis Hamilton, held ‘at bay’ by the former Ferrari driver for ten laps despite the disadvantage of car, compound and tire wear.
Now comes a 2022 that Alpine feeds on well-founded hopes. In Enstone, negotiations are underway to secure the skills of Otmar Szafnauer, former Aston Martin team principal who could also attract sponsor BWT and manager Andy Green. The wall is just missing a little order, Alonso will put the rest and, yes, Ocon too, thanks to a project that first of all thought of 2022. El Plan it involves not only Nando, but also Esteban, to ensure that the Hungarian Grand Prix does not remain an isolated episode.
Esteban Ocon, 74 points. 11th place. Average: 3.36 points.
Rating: 7+ | Underrated
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