Esteban Ocon says he wasn’t the only driver who was out of position at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite being the only one to collect a penalty.
Ocon qualified ninth for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but landed himself in trouble when he took up his position on the grid. The stewards ruled he positioned his Alpine inaccurately – noting “part of the car’s right front tyre was outside of the starting box” – and handed Ocon a five-second time penalty.
He insisted other drivers had broken the same rule without being punished. “Four cars were also ahead,” said Ocon. “I was not the only one out of the line. I was the most forward, that’s clear, but not the only one.”
The rules required Ocon to take his penalty at the first opportunity, but when the team called him in for his first pit stop they failed to serve it. The stewards noted that “after 4.6 seconds a mechanic started working on the car” and handed Ocon a fresh, 10-second penalty.
Making matters worse, Ocon suffered damage to the left-hand side of his front wing end plate. He soon returned to the pits to have it replaced.
When Ocon returned to serve his final penalty, the team suffered another slip-up. This time Ocon broke the 80kph pit lane speed limit – by just 0.1kph – and he was duly handed another five-second time penalty.
“I don’t know where the speeding comes from,” Ocon said, explaining he’s performed “the release and the entry the same way since five years, never got a penalty.”
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