Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Ocon: Stroll didn’t deserve a penalty for impeding me in qualifying

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon defended Lance Stroll, who was penalised for impeding the Alpine driver during qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The pair encountered each other during Q2 when the track was temporarily dry enough for slick tyres. Both had put the soft compound on and Ocon caught Stroll at the exit of turn six. Stroll refused to move from the dry line to let Ocon by and held him up at the following chicane before the Alpine passed him.

Ocon reported Stroll on his radio, telling his race engineer Joch Peckett: “Impeding there.” However speaking after qualifying, before Stroll’s penalty was announced, Ocon sympathised with his rival’s situation.

“Obviously that didn’t have any impact on my end result,” said Ocon. “I went through to Q3, it was enough.”

“It’s super-difficult moments in qualifying where were go on slick tyres,” he explained. “If you go in the water, you’re going to go off the next corner. It is a difficult one. So I hope he doesn’t get penalised.”

Stroll told the stewards he had to stay on the dry line because he was on slicks. However they ruled “the team did make him aware of the closeness of car 31 and it is our view that he could have reduced speed on the straight between turns seven and eight and allowed car 31 past.” They ruled Stroll “unnecessarily impeded” Ocon and gave him a three-place grid penalty.

While Stroll was eliminated in Q2, Ocon claimed sixth on the grid. He was thrilled with the result after a “very crazy session” and the setback he suffered when his car stopped with a loss of water pressure during the only useful practice session of the day.

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“It was constantly changing conditions and very well-managed from everyone, from my side and from the team’s side as well,” said Ocon. “Super-pleased with all the calls.”

Ocon pointed out his stoppage in extra practice put him at an added disadvantage as it left him unable to claim an extra set of intermediate tyres on Saturday.

“What has been super-difficult is our preparation for this weekend. We had this engine problem so we didn’t have much running and that hit into our strategy for qualifying because we didn’t have any extra intermediate sets. So I couldn’t really run this morning, couldn’t get a feel for the car, just did a lap basically, and I had to use that set again in qualifying.

“So we started with a bullet in the foot, but we’ve managed super-well and I can’t be happier than getting Q3 first and being in P6 after such a difficult rest of the weekend because I think we were 18th and 19th the whole way before qualifying today. So really, really well done from everyone.”

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

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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3 comments on “Ocon: Stroll didn’t deserve a penalty for impeding me in qualifying”

  1. Impeding is impeding regardless of what happens outcome-wise.

  2. Stroll did seem unlucky there, he was caught in the middle of the corner on cold slicks on his outlap, he didn’t have a lot of space to go. And he certainly didn’t deserve the same penalty as Sainz and Tsunoda who were moving chicanes the whole Saturday…

  3. Hamilton’s impeding on Stroll in Q1 was worse than whatever happened here.

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