Fernando Alonso claims Lance Stroll thinks as a team-mate in fresh Esteban Ocon jibe

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso smiling wearing sunglasses. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Fernando Alonso smiling wearing sunglasses. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Fernando Alonso has taken another dig at former Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon, saying the relationship he currently enjoys on track with Lance Stroll is the “opposite” to what he experienced at Alpine.

Multiple tense moments between Alonso and Ocon saw their relationship as team-mates deteriorate towards the end of last season, with contact in the sprint at Interlagos drawing furious intervention from Alpine bosses as they fought for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.

But upon his move to Aston Martin, Alonso is not just competing against Stroll in the same garage, but he also appears to be taking on something of a mentorship role for the young Canadian, acknowledging his role in setting him up to lead the team for the next “10 or 15 years”.

The two have got on well together at Aston Martin so far, bar a tangling of wheels in Bahrain which could well have ended both their races, though they were able to carry on in the season-opener.

With plenty at stake given Aston’s significant upturn in form in 2023, Alonso having appeared on the podium in four of the opening five races of the season, the two-time World Champion stressed the importance of he and Stroll getting in the points on a regular basis.

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Referencing Stroll’s radio message in Azerbaijan where he said he would not attack his team-mate, Alonso said he would have had the “opposite” response with his previous team-mate.

“I think we all agree that we need to play this kind of game if we want to beat the opposition,” Alonso told Sky Sports F1 of the teamwork in play at Aston Martin this season.

“We are fighting against very big teams, Ferrari, Mercedes, and our strength is to score points with both cars.

“Yes, I try to help Lance, but we cannot forget that also he’s very smart and he’s a driver that I think [of] as a team-mate, as we saw in Baku.

“We spoke about maybe saving tyres, we didn’t know exactly on a sprint format how long the tyres will last, and we were saving tyres and he said: ‘I will not attack Fernando’.

“Last year I had, like, maybe the opposite. I had always my team-mate, like the first target was me. So that was obviously not beneficial for the team.

“So I think Lance is playing also a part on this relationship.”