The Alpine team driver became the 14th Frenchman in Budapest on Sunday to win a Grand Prix. The success of resilience.
A golden day. Some hours later The Marseillaise sung by foilists in Tokyo, these same triumphant notes were played at the Hungaroging in Budapest in honor of the triumph of Esteban Ocon and the Alpine team this Sunday. Like a maestro, the 24-year-old French driver embraced the different notes of the French anthem, the culmination of a Hungarian Grand Prix that he had just led to the baton for 65 laps. Like an old trucker, finally lifted to the sky on his 78th birthdaye Grand Prix in career. By winning on the occasion of the 11e round of the 2021 championship, Esteban Ocon became the 14e French driver to win in the premier class.
An unexpected advent for this Norman reborn since his arrival in the fold of the Renault group. As a symbol, it is he, the native of Évreux, a good hour’s drive from Dieppe, historic land of the Alpine factory, who brought the new eponymous team its first success in Formula 1. “It’s a beautiful symbol. When I met Esteban, I was very seduced by the person even though I was already convinced of the pilot. It’s a great story, he was enthusiastic about the Alpine project, he loves the brand, the origins and the people who surround Alpine ”, entrust to Figaro from Budapest his boss, Laurent Rossi. So much so that the latter did not wait for this triumph to extend it until 2024 last June, when Ocon was going through a great period of doubt (two withdrawals and two 14it is places between early June and early July).
It is proof for him and for all the people who follow F1 that he is a very talented boy capable of shining in good conditions.
Laurent Rossi, boss of the Alpine team.
Immersed in the abyss of the paddock, this great blue of 1.90 m thanked him with style. “I must thank those who continued to believe in me”, greeted Ocon after the Grand Prix. Because before this crossing of the desert, the one who had discovered F1 just five years ago with the short-lived Manor team experienced several periods of doubt. In particular during the year 2019, where he served as a reserve driver at Mercedes after two years at Force India, from where he was ousted to make room for Lance Stroll, son of the new owner. Esteban Ocon will therefore have known the highest step of the podium before the latter.
Like revenge for this Norman who refuses to let go and for whom nothing is certain. Coming from a modest family, Esteban saw his father Laurent scramble to fulfill his son’s golden dreams. The family travels in a motorhome, his father’s mechanic has multiplied his hats: engineer, coach, driver. Unsuspected route to the summits. And towards the company of a double world champion.
Back in Formula 1 this season, Fernando Alonso is the Frenchman’s new teammate. To whom hell was promised, alongside the still imposing Asturian Bull. “He searches and works all the time, explained an Ocon delighted with his collaboration in May. We share data and push each other.» This Sunday, the Spaniard, who celebrated his 40th birthday this weekend, was moved when congratulating his teammate for his victory on the circuit where he himself won his first GP, in 2003. He has also was a great help in this design by containing the ardor of the insatiable Lewis Hamilton, finally third just behind another world champion, Sebastian Vettel. A podium of choice for a first victory for Esteban Ocon, whose qualities were quickly unearthed.
“It is proof for him and for all the people who follow F1 that he is a very talented boy capable of shining in good conditions”, recalls Laurent Rossi. A little more than six months after his first podium in Bahrain, Ocon reached the pantheon of French pilots, less than a year after Pierre Gasly, also born in 1996 and from Normandy. Obviously fertile land.