Esteban Ocon win at Hungarian Grand Prix ranked by Alpine chief as third-best moment for team in 2021

Esteban Ocon took a surprise win at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

Alpine chief executive Laurent Rossi has claimed that Esteban Ocon’s surprise victory at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix was not the team’s best moment of the Formula 1 season.

The Frenchman claimed a stunning maiden win in August, capitalising on an off-day for the fastest cars on the grid and holding off Lewis Hamilton to take victory.

He was aided greatly by veteran teammate Fernando Alonso as Alpine claimed a first Grand Prix triumph under their current banner.

However Rossi feels the success in Hungary was not the best indicator of the team’s progress and growth, instead spotlighting Alonso’s podium in Qatar in November and Ocon’s fourth place finish in Saudi Arabia in the penultimate race of the 2021 season.

“It was a great moment in the season, a statement of the good work we did,” commented Rossi on Ocon’s Hungary victory to Motorsport.com.

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“But I would say, and it’s surprising for everyone, it wasn’t as much as the 19 points we scored for the podium and fifth place in Qatar, or the strong finish with Esteban’s fourth place in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s more the progression and learning and constant improvement of the team that bodes well for the future of the brand. The win was great, don’t get me wrong, but it happened under specific circumstances.

“We held on for 65 laps so we deserved it, but under normal race conditions, like the last few, that’s what makes me feel confident and proud with the team.

“That was as important as the win.”

Alpine will seek further success in 2022 with the same line-up, with Alonso continuing with the French team for a second season after returning to F1 from a two-year hiatus.

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The two-time world champion could pass Kimi Raikkonen, who has now retired from the sport, as the driver with the most career starts.

The 40-year-old trails the Finnish driver by 16 starts ahead of the season opener in Bahrain in March.

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