Ocon blames pit equipment after penalty for near-miss with Hamilton in pits

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon disputed his five-second time penalty for an unsafe release during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, blaming a piece of pit equipment left in his path.

The stewards ruled Lewis Hamilton “had to take evasive action to prevent a collision” when Ocon’s car was released alongside him after the pair pitted together on lap 19.

“I disagree with the penalty there,” Ocon told his race engineer Josh Peckett on the radio after the race. “It was the tube that made me go left, the tube from the team in front.”

Ocon finished 11th on the road but was relegated to 14th place in the final classification due to his penalty.

“It’s a little bit frustrating, for sure,” he said after the race. “We’re P11 and of course with that unsafe release, five seconds, that hurts our position.

An AlphaTauri team member picked up the hose as Ocon left
“But I think what hurt that is really the tube that was left quite in the middle, almost at the fast lane. I had to squeeze Lewis because of that tube that was hanging.”

Ocon believes “there would have been space for both of us” had the tube not been there. He said he knew where Hamilton was as he pulled away from his pit box.

“I was aware when I had to avoid the tube and then I saw he was there. It’s tight but of course it’s not safe to be that close to another car, that’s clear.”

Ocon was not given any penalty points on his licence for the incident “as the infringement was caused by the unsafe release by the team,” the stewards noted.

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2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Ocon blames pit equipment after penalty for near-miss with Hamilton in pits”

  1. Why does Ocon think he’s entitled to that piece of road? Yes, it’s tight, but he’s supposed to be in the lane, not beside it because their’s another car in the lane. That’s the entire point of the penalty, him getting released straight into Lewis rather than behind him.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      26th April 2022, 9:23

      Indeed a load of BS, where that tube lays is anyway not supposed to be used for driving in the pitlane certainly considering that it looks they are getting ready for a pitstop as well.

      The unsafe release has little to do with Ocon’s driving after he was released but much more to do with the timing of his release. He shouldn’t have been released as Hamilton was too close and had to brake and/or take evasive action.

      Is Ocon saying that if the tube wouldn’t have been there he would have been fine driving side by side in that narrow pitlane. Regardless of the tube he wouldn’t have been fully ahead => unsafe release.

  2. Ultimately an excuse even if that tube on the ground forced him to return to the fast lane in a sharper, more leftwards steering angle. The unsafe release was still the issue.
    A non-issue if he didn’t get green when the fast lane wasn’t free from approaching cars.
    Without the tube hampering his turning angle, he’d still have received the 5-sec penalty.

    1. @jerejj I believe the excuse is that he could have gone faster and would have then been in front of Hamilton instead of beside him if the hose wasn’t there.

      Not sure that I buy it, or that he has any kind of claim to using that piece of pitlane at all, though.

    2. Does “tube” refer to an air hose?

      1. @elchinero Could be, but I reckon wheel gun with attached hose. I can’t think of any other fitting option.

  3. he has no claim to the concrete apron in front of another teams pit garages. It’s an unofficial bit of polite activity for the neighbouring pit to bring in the hoses to allow for smooth pit stop as the same is given for pit entry to their box by your team, but never at the expense of their own operation.
    Last year was notable with the suspension of cordial relations between Mercedes and Red Bull when RB pit entry was enforced by Mercedes and MB pit exit by Red Bull. The level of petty was extreme.
    Ocon didn’t do anything wrong personally, he went on green. The fault lies with the engineer that released him but you can’t fine a race engineer 5s, so……

  4. Rubbish excuse. So otherwise he would have raced 2 abreast down the entire pit lane?

  5. That’s even worse IMHO

  6. Excuses …. the guy is Champion of creative excuses. Any problem comes up, out come the excuses.
    I have a poor memory, I think, and even I can recall numerous “it wasn’t my fault” situations.

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