‘Suicidal’ drivers in Turn 1 leaves Esteban Ocon unhappy with driving standards

Michelle Foster
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso spun at the Australian GP restart. April 2023.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso gets spun at the restart of the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Esteban Ocon has criticised an AlphaTauri driver, although the wrong one as it were, for being “suicidal a bit” at the second restart in the Australian Grand Prix.

With the race red flagged following Kevin Magnussen’s late-race crash, Race Control sent the drivers back out for what was effectively a two-lap shoot-out.

While Carlos Sainz triggered an incident right at the front when the Ferrari driver spun Fernando Alonso, the antics of some of the drivers further back didn’t help the situation.

That included Logan Sargeant crashing into Nyck de Vries, while Pierre Gasly tangled with Ocon as the new Alpine signing returned to the track after an off only to collect his team-mate, both ending up in the wall on the exit at Turn 2.

But it’s Yuki Tsunoda, although Ocon mistook him for De Vries, who the Frenchman was most annoyed with as he dived up the inside at a time when the setting sun made it difficult to see.

Talking about the second restart and the ensuing multi-car crash, Ocon said: “My tyres were hot. I didn’t feel like it was very slippery but what was tricky was a little bit the light being lower, we couldn’t really see so well.

“But some drivers were just suicidal a bit in Turn 1, like Nyck on the inside.

“It was very close and obviously there’s a lot to gain at the time, but a little bit too much for some drivers.”

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As for the clash with his team-mate, Ocon says they’ve already talked that one out.

“Obviously a very chaotic restart then honestly, it could have been any cars that I collided with,” he said.

“There were cars coming back on the track, obviously Pierre was one of them. But no hard feelings. He came and apologised and as I said, it could have been anyone.”

Alpine’s double race-ending crash brought a premature end to what would’ve been a solid points-scoring result for the team with Gasly fifth for the restart with Ocon P10.

Ocon admits it’s “difficult to digest” but he’s drawing positives from the fact his A523 had the pace to fight Ferrari and Aston Martin.

“The rest of the weekend, the rest of the race, how much positives there was in that race and looking at the pace, what’s crazy is that I’ve never had a weekend like [this] where it never clicks, the result in your direction,” he said.

“The pace was good, the pace was strong, and we were as fast as the Astons and the Ferrari in front. So it’s difficult to digest and obviously that last restart, a very chaotic start, a lot of cars off the track.

“Overtaking around the outside against those cars that had DRS in front, it was not like cars that were without defence. We were not far off Sergio [Perez] at the time in terms of pace and that was pretty good, so you know, we keep that in mind and hopefully come back stronger next [race].”

Alpine are sixth in the Constructors’ Championship on eight points, four behind McLaren.