Fernando Alonso was praised for his spectacular, 10-lap defence from Lewis Hamilton which helped his team mate Esteban Ocon claim a shock debut victory in Hungary.Sebastian Vettel behind him.
Permane said it wasn’t until Ocon emerged from the pits ahead of Vettel following his final tyre change that they believed a win was possible.
“The first part of the race was making sure we came out on the second set of tyres in the lead,” said Permane. “And then from there the win was on.”
Vettel was within DRS range of Ocon for much of their first stint on slicks. But from lap 23 Ocon began to draw clear, and by lap 36 his lead was up to 2.6 seconds. That helped protect him from the threat of Vettel pitting first to get onto fresher tyres and passing via the ‘undercut’.
Ocon’s pace at this stage in the race was critical, said Permane. “What was really beautiful was that when we let him go, when we told him ‘okay, now you need to drive flat-out’ he pulled two and a half, I don’t know what it was, on Sebastian, two point eight seconds or something.
“That enabled us to just react to Sebastian. So we didn’t have to do anything until he pitted. We pitted a lap after, we came out in front of him.”
The gap Ocon built up made life easier for the team’s strategists, Permane explained. “[If] you pit first, you expose yourself to Safety Cars and all sorts of nastiness. There was two key things, there was that, and of course Fernando with Lewis.”
Permane said Alonso’s ability to withstand the pressure from Hamilton for lap after lap was “undoubtedly crucial” in securing the victory, given how quickly Hamilton caught Ocon and Vettel after passing Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jnr.
“If he’d got past in the first lap like he got past Carlos on the first time past, I’m sure Lewis would have been there [at the end].”
Alpine would have had to employ defensive strategies with Ocon had Hamilton passed Alonso sooner, said Permane.
“I think what we would have done is then just drop back a bit, gave Seb the DRS and use that to protect a little bit. But I don’t know if we would have held him off.
“Maybe. Esteban, don’t forget he [was] one of the last people [to pit], so he had very fresh tyres. He was in control in that last stint.”
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Ocon’s radio messages prior to his last pit stop
|Peckett||Vettel 1.5, 1.5.|
|Ocon||We are gapping Vettel?|
|Peckett||Vettel 1.5 behind. Tyre management good.|
|Ocon||Are we expecting more rain?|
|Peckett||Okay mate status zero, Vettel 1.7 behind. Status zero.|
|Peckett||Gap to Vettel still 1.6, good job.|
|Peckett||Gap to Vettel two seconds. Just keep it up.|
|Peckett||Balance has now stabilised.|
|Peckett||Vettel 2.1 behind.|
|Peckett||Okay let’s introduce a little bit of lift-and-coast, please, half a second.|
|Peckett||Vettel, 2.3 behind let’s go for one second lift-and-coast please from the next lap.|
|Peckett||Okay Vettel’s 2.3 we want to keep that up. Lift and coast last lap was good.|
|Ocon||We are braking into turn three slightly worse|
|Ocon||Okay copy that.|
|Peckett||PU 13 position two, this will slightly increase clipping, all’s okay.|
|Peckett||Reduce lift-and-coast to half a second a lap.|
|Ocon||Okay Esteban halfway, halfway.|
|Ocon||Let’s keep this half-second lift-and-coast, that’s good, Vettel 2.2 behind.|
|Peckett||Okay Esteban 2.6 gap to Vettel. Think about balance adjust for plan A please.|
|Ocon||We can probably reduce a tiny amount.|
|Ocon||You can still feel turn 11.|
|Peckett||Okay you can come down on diff high speed. We’re still in 12.|
|Ocon||I don’t want to, no?|
Okay max push, max push, max push.
|Peckett||Box this lap Esteban, box box.|
|Peckett||Awesome. Out-lap critical.|
Quotes: Dieter Rencken
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2021 F1 season
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- Red Bull fined $7 million and lose development time for 2021 budget cap breach
- Hamilton: F1 ‘might as well not have a cost cap if the penalty is a slap on the wrist’
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- F1 mustn’t let post-season budget cap rows become a regular occurrence