The controversy surrounds an incident on the run up towards Saint Devote, in which Lewis Hamilton shows his front wing and dives up the inside of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, which quickly moves to the right and cuts across Hamilton’s front wing, giving the Briton damage that his team would only fix by the time a red flag came out for Mick Schumacher’s heavy accident in the swimming pool section.
Speaking to media, including MotorLAT, after the race on Sunday, Ocon explained how he was satisfied with his pace and race management, and that the time penalty “ruined it completely”. One of the key elements to his clear disappointment Is the suggestion that a new rule for racing was in force, which wasn’t there in 2021:
“Not the Sunday I would have hoped for – until the last 10 laps with the penalty – otherwise we did everything we needed. The car was working well, we were quick in this race.
“There’s nothing to say apart from obviously that penalty, which ruined it completely. I’m very frustrated, because the opinion of everyone is another one compared to what we’ve got. Looking at the images – and going to see the stewards as well – they said that if it was last year, it would’ve been a racing incident. This year it is not a racing incident,” he said.
He elaborated further on what the ruling is about and that he doesn’t “remember” when it was agreed:
“Apparently, we all agreed at GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers Association), that as soon as there is a front wing next to a tyre, there should be space, but I don’t remember when this has been agreed,” he said. “(I was) just not thinking of any ruling or anything, I was just covering the inside.”
The Frenchman explained – incorrectly – that no damage or harm was done to either car during the battle, as he clearly didn’t see the Mercedes had some serious damage on its front wing. He also went as far as saying that “you can’t list one” overtake at Monaco recently that featured no car-to-car contact – another incorrect statement – but he did admit he could be wrong due to the “heat of the moment”:
“The inside line is wet, Lewis (Hamilton) is on faster tyres obviously. Any overtakes that’s been made in Monaco (sic) there was contact. You can’t list one, in the last couple of years, that there’s been no contact, or leave track or anything. We tried hard, we raced hard, obviously there was a bit of contact, but that should be a racing incident, and that’s frustrating.
“That’s not me judging. Maybe in the heat of the moment I have the wrong opinion. It’s racing, in the end, we suffered nothing, both of us. We raced hard, but we raced with no damages or anything.”
It’s not the first time this season that an Alpine driver leaves the race track on Sunday in anger with the stewards. Fernando Alonso was also very critical of the penalty he received in Miami following an off-track excursion. He claimed, at the the time, the stewards were “not very professional”.