Alpine sporting director Alan Permane reveals how his team would try to protect Esteban Ocon’s position had Lewis Hamilton not been held up by Fernando Alonso.
Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man on the track at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and was fighting his way through the field when he arrived just behind Fernando Alonso, who was in P4 at the time.
The Spanish driver then managed to hold off Hamilton for several laps, which ultimately allowed his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon to keep his P1 and win the race.
Such was Hamilton’s speed that immediately after passing Alonso to claim P4 on Lap 65 of 69, he passed Carlos Sainz on lap 67 for P3 and then proceeded to completely obliterate around a nine-second gap to second-placed Sebastian Vettel by the final lap of the race.
Unfortunately, he ran out of laps and was unable to attack. After the race Vettel was disqualified and Hamilton was promoted to P2.
However, what was obvious from this is that, had Alonso not been successful in holding up Hamilton as long as he did, there’s no doubt that the Briton would be a serious contender for the race win.
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Alpine also understands that and they already had in mind a strategy to try and protect Ocon’s lead if Hamilton came close enough to attack Vettel.
“I think what we would have done is drop back a bit, given Seb DRS and used that to protect a little bit but we don’t know if we would have held him off,” Alan Permane explained.
He also praised Fernando Alonso’s performance, that he credits with Alpine’s success in Hungary.
“Incredible, absolutely incredible. He is happy for us, he is happy for Esteban, but I know he is frustrated because he wants to win.
“[Alonso’s defence against Hamilton was] undoubtedly crucial. He did 11 laps I believe. If he had gotten past on the first lap, like he got past Carlos on the first time past, I am sure Lewis would have been there.
“Esteban, don’t forget, pitted as one of the last people, he had very fresh tyres, he was in control in that last stint but who knows,” concluded Alpine’s boss.