Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has given his side of the team order confusion at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, after overtaking Pierre Gasly moments after receiving a ‘hold position’ instruction.
The two Frenchmen were having a thrilling duel in the top six midway through the race with a significant points haul on the cards, before the team intervened to tell Ocon to remain behind his team-mate.
As that was happening however, Ocon was making the move to overtake Gasly – and their fortunes contrasted from there for the rest of the race.
Esteban Ocon explains Pierre Gasly overtake after ‘hold position’ call
Ocon made an excellent recovery from 16th on the grid to finish an eventual 4th come the chequered flag, retaking that position once George Russell’s post-race five-second penalty had been applied.
Passing Gasly was a key move at that point of the race, but he explained that the ‘hold position’ call came as he was overtaking his team-mate.
Alongside that, Ocon said that if Alpine had made the call to switch the cars back around again on track, he would have obeyed their instructions.
“It was good,” Ocon told Sky Sports F1 when asked about his duel with his team-mate in Las Vegas.
“I mean, I think Pierre was on older tyres at the time. You know, I got told ‘hold position’, but at the time I didn’t know it was hold position.
“The only thing I heard was ‘position’ because I was basically making the move while I got told.
“Obviously, if the team had asked for me to give back the position, I would have done so straight away.”
Ocon was able to scamper away from Gasly while his team-mate fell down the standings suffering from graining and poor grip on his tyres.
The sister Alpine eventually finished out of the points while Ocon picked up his second-best result of the season, after his podium in Monaco.
Given the pace he was able to manage compared to Gasly, he praised his side of the Alpine garage for how they kept on top of tyre wear to give him pace until the end of the race.
“It was really good then, looking at the tyres at the end whenever all the cars were parked it looks like we had new tyres compared to the others,” Ocon stated.
“So yeah, definitely a good job to be on top of that with the team. Since FP2, I think we’ve done really well.
“It’s a shame about yesterday’s quali, but I don’t think we left anything on the table today.”
With his 12-point haul, Gasly now only leads Ocon by four points in the Drivers’ Championship heading into the final round in Abu Dhabi next weekend.