The FIA stewards considered that the Alpine team made an unsafe release , that is, a dangerous pit exit, after Esteban Ocon got next to Lewis Hamilton in the pit lane, forcing the Mercedes driver to give him the position.
Ocon was handed a five-second penalty for the incident, and after finishing 11th with several cars behind him, the Alpine driver dropped to 14th in the final results.
That pitlane incident came at the end of lap 18, when Ocon and Hamilton were among 11 drivers who had decided to switch to dry tyres.
Ocon said that when he came out of his box, he had to open up more than he expected because an air line was in his way. The AlphaTauri team, which occupies the adjoining pit, had just put new tires on Yuki Tsunoda, and his mechanics were still in position.
“Yeah sure, it’s a bit frustrating,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com about the penalty.
“We were eleventh, and of course with that unsafe release , [we were penalized] five seconds, that hurts our position. But I think what really hurt us was the tube that stayed almost in the fast lane.”
“I had to get together with Lewis [Hamilton] because of that tube that was hanging down. I have to rewatch the footage, but that’s my initial feeling without rewatching the footage. If not, I think there would have been room for both of us.” We didn’t touch, everything went well.”
Asked if he knew Hamilton was there, he explained: “I was conscious when I had to avoid the tube, and then I saw it was there. It’s tight, but of course it’s not safe to be that close to another car, that’s for sure. So in the end I think what has made it look worse is the tube.”
Ocon spent much of the race stuck behind Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin , with tire problems and a lack of DRS, which didn’t come on until lap 34, making it difficult for him to pace.
“We had a bit of tire degradation, we were degrading the front ones,” he explained. “And that’s what has kept us from putting more pressure on Lance [Stroll].”
“I think there are some good aspects that we can take advantage of. And we probably know how to fix it.”
“I was asking about the DRS, because I would have passed Lance. I had a great opportunity at one point, the car in front of [Stroll] was gone from there. And I was right behind, I would have passed him. So a bit frustrating on that side. I think it was safe to allow [the DRS] before.”
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the first race of 2022 in which Ocon failed to score points.
“I think the first three races have been on my side, [I’ve finished] three times in the points. The car had a little more or a little less performance at times, but we’ve been consistent. Only this race stands out a bit, but we broke the gearbox in qualifying.”
The performance thanks to the improved ground that Fernando Alonso tested in Italy encouraged Ocon, although the Spaniard retired early and was unable to complete a full race distance with it. Ocon will receive the new part at the next race in Miami.
“I think it’s a missed opportunity for us this weekend. We were supposed to get some good points and a good performance. So yeah, it’s a shame, but we’ll bounce back.”
“From FP2 we have enough data to see how much it can give us. I think it should be a good gain, from what we see. Of course Fernando [Alonso] has qualified fifth, that has been very good. It cost us a little more in the race. But yeah, I think it’s still possible to put both cars in the top 10, once we both have this performance upgrade.”
“I’m looking forward to trying out that new piece that Fernando had this weekend. I think it looks like a good upgrade from what the team is seeing.”