[Gasly: Alpine’s Ocon swap wasn’t discussed before Japan F1 race
In the final stages of the Suzuka race, Gasly was asked to let Ocon by as the pair was set to finish ninth and 10th.
Gasly angrily protested on the radio but eventually relented by letting his team-mate by at the very last possible moment, in the third sector of the final lap.
Gasly was asked to let Ocon by to return the favour from earlier in the race, when Gasly passed Ocon but then failed to overtake Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso ahead of the pair, thereby having to revert the positions.
But a puzzled Gasly said that while Ocon undercutting him was a scenario he was aware of, the late reversal was never discussed in the pre-race strategy briefings.
“It wasn’t discussed before the race,” Gasly said. “It was clear with the strategy they had planned that at some point Esteban would undercut me, but my pace was faster and I would have to pass him back.
“I overtook him anyway on the race track because I had fresher tyres.
“It was never said that we would need to invert the positions again because I started ahead and I was always in front.
“As a team 10th and ninth or ninth and 10th is the same, but it was definitely not something I expected. And it’s not something I really understand as well as I was the leading car, so we’ll talk about it.
Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
“I’m behind the wheel and my job is to go as fast as possible. I’m giving everything I can. Why give up a position, for what reason…”
Gasly said he relented because while he didn’t understand the decision, he also didn’t want to put his own interests before the team’s.
“Today I put the team in front of myself and that’s what I will do anyway,” he added.
In the end, a struggling Alpine outfit salvaged a double points position which looked in jeopardy when Ocon was involved in a start melee with Valtteri Bottas and Alex Albon, who both eventually retired from the race.
“I think we did a good strategy as a team we did the best job we could with both cars,” Gasly explained.
“I don’t understand the team’s decision, but I respected it and let Esteban pass, but in the end it’s three points for the team and that’s what we will have to look at.”