Jenson Button responds to Esteban Ocon’s assessment on Fernando Alonso

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso at the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2022.

Esteban Ocon feels only Lewis Hamilton has done a better job alongside Fernando Alonso than him, triggering a response from Jenson Button.

Ocon and Alonso currently find themselves as team-mates at Alpine, the duo having formed the team’s driver line-up since 2021.

It will though be the final season of this partnership, as Alonso is off to Aston Martin for 2023, having agreed a multi-year deal with the team.

With six races to go in their final season together at Alpine, Ocon sits ahead of Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship, boasting 66 points compared to Alonso’s 59, with Ocon having recently claimed that only Hamilton, who was team-mate to Alonso at McLaren in 2007, can claim to have done a better job than him alongside the Spaniard.

 

 

When asked if he has earned the esteem of the paddock, speaking to the Italian edition of Motorsport.com, Ocon said: “I don’t read everything that is said about me, I hope that when I do something good it is reported as such, and that those watching can get an idea.

“But it’s true that there are some people who tell me ‘ah, I didn’t notice your qualification at Spa’, or ‘I forgot you won last year’.

“I admit I find it a bit strange, in the end in qualifying in the comparison with Fernando we are 9 to 7 for him, but I have a few more points in the classification.

“Last year, if we talk about qualifying, we finished the season tied: 11 to 11. If I look at Fernando’s career, the only one of his team-mates who has been his equal is Lewis, all the others have not done better than me.

“Personally, I feel I’m doing a good job, and yes, it’s a bit strange sometimes to see that on the outside there are those who perceive it a bit differently.”

Speaking of those who perceive it a bit differently, one can include Button in that group, who took to social media to respond to this claim from Ocon.

“I will have to disagree,” Button stated.

Even if Button is potentially being somewhat light-hearted in the response, he nonetheless would have an argument to back up his words, judging by how he fared against Alonso during their time together.

Button and Alonso were team-mates at McLaren in 2015 and 2016, a tricky time for the Woking outfit as their reunion with engine supplier Honda failed to repeat the successes of the past.

In 2015 Button finished five points ahead of Alonso in the final standings, though he was comfortably outscored by Alonso in 2016.

Looking at their time together at McLaren overall, though Alonso quite commonly found himself ahead of Button on the starting grid, 25 times for Alonso compared to 14 for Button, race days for the former champs were a closer tale.

In that department, Alonso came out on top 18 times, compared to 16 for Button.

Plus, speaking back in their McLaren days, Alonso would hail Button as his “best” Formula 1 team-mate, not Hamilton, giving Button every reason to dispute Ocon’s view that only Hamilton has been a better match for Alonso than himself.

“For me, he’s probably the best team-mate I’ve had,” said Alonso of Button.

“He is very fast. He is very competitive inside the car, always and in all conditions, but outside the car as well he is a very nice guy, a true gentleman, and also very committed to the sport. As a package I think he’s the best.”

We recently put Ocon’s claim to the test, delving into the archives to look at how Alonso compared to five of the most notable team-mates of his past, where Ocon did rank ahead of Button, though there was more to the story when comparing Button and Ocon against the two-time World Champion Alonso.

Read more: In pursuit of perfection: A behind-the-scenes tour of the Mercedes factory