Zero-stop Ocon was ‘one lap away from puncture’

Date published: October 10 2021 - Henry Valantine

Esteban Ocon's worn rear tyres. Turkey October 2021.

Esteban Ocon admitted his tyres were on their last legs after completing the entire Turkish Grand Prix on the same set of intermediates.

The Alpine driver was the only person brave enough to take all 58 laps of Istanbul Park without pitting, given the usual requirement to use two different compounds in a race is removed in wet conditions.

Lewis Hamilton was openly critical of his strategy at Mercedes as he had wanted to follow suit with the Frenchman, preferring to keep track position as he aimed to take a podium on Sunday.

But given the state of Ocon’s tyres and his drop-off in pace towards the end of the race, he admitted afterwards that his eventual P10 finish would have slipped through his fingers with one more lap – as would the structure of his tyres.

Get the new look Alpine merchandise via the official Formula 1 store

“It was pretty difficult, we gave a good break to the guys, to the crew – they had enough pit stops the whole year, so let’s try it without!” Ocon quipped to reporters in Turkey after the race.

“No, more seriously, it was tricky at the end, a couple of more corners I would’ve lost that point. It’s good to have a reward in the end, I’m pretty pleased to get that point for everybody.

“One more lap, I think we would’ve got a puncture. It was a risky bet. We made it work today.

“It’s not the best weekend for us, clearly. That one point probably saves it a bit but we have some work to do to come back to the level of performance we had a couple of races ago. We need to keep on top of that for Austin.”

 

From a Pirelli point of view, their head of F1, Mario Isola, said that the grippier surface offered up at Istanbul Park would have caused added challenges for the drivers in any conditions.

The intermediate tyres were not predicted to perform over an entire race distance in Turkey, and he said the tyres were very much “on the limit” on Sunday.

“Most of the cars that stopped after Lap 47, 48 were completely finished,” Isola said to Sky Sports F1. “We know that with the new tarmac that is more abrasive, more grip compared to last year.

“The track wasn’t dry but still abrasive. It was really, really at the limit. I was suggesting our allocated engineers to warn the teams to change the tyres, not to get to the end because it was a risky move.”