Esteban Ocon accused of deliberate Alpine sabotage by Jacques Villeneuve

Michelle Foster
Esteban Ocon leads Pierre Gasly in Canada

Esteban Ocon was frustrated with Alpine's team orders

Although Esteban Ocon proclaimed he was a “team player” in Canada, Jacques Villeneuve said he “waited long enough” that Pierre Gasly couldn’t make it count.

Alpine found themselves at the heart of a team order row at the Canadian Grand Prix where Ocon was irate with the team for not telling Gasly to give him back ninth place on the final lap.

Esteban Ocon maintains ‘team player’ narrative

As for how the story unfolded, Ocon was ahead of Gasly as the team-mates ran ninth and 10th with Gasly the quicker of the two.

Alpine told Ocon to let his team-mate through so that he could “try and attack [Daniel] Ricciardo” for position. His immediate response: “Forget it!”.

After some back-and-forth, he relented and allowed Gasly to pass him through Turn 8 on lap 69 of the 70-lap Grand Prix.

By then Gasly’s deficit to Ricciardo was too big for him to do anything and he crossed the line in ninth behind the RB driver with Ocon P10.

The latter was fuming that Alpine didn’t make Gasly give him back the position, telling his race engineer: “I’ve done what I had to do, which is the most important, but you guys didn’t do what you had to do.”

It was a stance he stuck by when he spoke with the media after the race, saying: “I’ve been a team player and I’ve always respected the instructions that I’ve been given, always – it’s always been the case and I showed it once more today.

“But the nice guy doesn’t always pay off in Formula 1 and that is bothering me a lot.”

He continued that narrative that he always does what is “best for the team”, “respects the instructions”, and is a “team player”.

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Jacques Villeneuve calls out Esteban Ocon’s tactics

Villeneuve has poked holes in that.

According to the 1997 World Champion, who was a guest pundit on Sky F1 for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, there were tactics in play from Ocon against his team-mate.

“That wasn’t good, because we heard him in his comments, ‘I was a team player, I let him by, the team was wrong’ and so on, but he made sure that he waited long enough that it was too late for Gasly to go and attack,” Villeneuve said.

“But he still let him by to say, ‘I was a team player’. So there’s a lot of thought process going in there.”

As for Gasly, he opted not to stoke the flames and said it was “no big deal”.

“The target was quite clear at the end,” said the Frenchman. “I was faster on the hard tyres towards the end of the race and I was right behind Daniel and as soon as Daniel overtook Esteban, the goal was for the other car to let me pass and for the last four laps to try to overtake Daniel with the DRS.

“It took slightly more time than we would have liked, but honestly, it’s no big deal.

“What’s tricky is these two laps for Daniel to break the DRS and when you do it two laps to the end, it’s too far away.

“But then, [had it been done] slightly earlier, then potentially I’m in the DRS and you get slightly more chances. But honestly, it’s no big deal.”

This year’s championship will be Ocon’s last with Alpine, the Frenchman and the team announcing before Canadian they’d called time on their five-year relationship.

The driver has been widely linked to Haas.

Read next: Jacques Villeneuve v Daniel Ricciardo: Who won Canadian GP’s fiercest battle?