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Laurent Rossi after Esteban Ocon's victory in Hungary: "We didn't dare dream of it"

2021-08-01T19:17:33.987Z

A few minutes after Esteban Ocon's surprise victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Laurent Rossi, boss of the Alpine team, told us about his joy over the phone after this symbolic victory for the French team.



LE FIGARO - Is this victory as meaningful for the driver as it is for the team?

Laurent Rossi

 : "It's exactly that. It's fabulous for Esteban because people doubted him when he was extended for three years. Which was clearly not my case. The problem was with the car, we changed some things and it worked better at Silverstone then obviously today. I'm very happy for him but also and above all for the team which has been working hard since the start of the year to extract the maximum performance from this single-seater in a much tighter competition. It is the sum of the smallest details that makes the performance. Honestly, we weren't expecting it in these great widths, but you also have to know how to seize the opportunities. There, we held the race since the first lap. Huge congratulations to the team that has been working for seven years and Renault's return to F1.It’s the reward for a lot of hard work at both Viry and Enstone. ”

Live: F1: sensation in Hungary, Frenchman Esteban Ocon wins with Alpine

In a way, is Esteban a thank you gift?

“It's possible, but it's especially important for him.

Esteban knows that I have enormous confidence in him.

It is proof for him and for all the people who follow F1 that he is a very talented boy capable of shining in good conditions.

I always said he had the potential to win victories and why not more.

If he thanks the team with a victory, so much the better.

If he wants to thank us every weekend, I'll take it! ”

After the race, he thanked those who continued to believe in him through bad times.

What motivated you to see him until 2024?

“It's quite simple. First, we have new regulations coming next year for three years. We are going to build a new single-seater next year to advance it to win races and potentially championships. This is Alpine's ambition. We don't want to sign the drivers for two years and see them leave in the third year. We can see Ricciardo or Perez very well… The first year is always the most difficult. I don't want a new driver to come in third year and learn the car. I want it to gain momentum and for there to be an idea of ​​continuity. Esteban is someone we trust. He shone in all categories, he beat some great drivers we know today like Max (Verstappen), Charles (Leclerc), Pierre (Gasly).If given the right tool, he can bring victory to the end. I have a very high-flying pilot to continuously build the Alpine project. This is the philosophy of the new CEO Luca De Meo. We can't find ourselves doing something new

short-term.

"

To read also: Tops / Flops GP of Hungary: the glory day of Ocon, the setbacks of Bottas

Alpine's first victory thanks to Esteban Ocon, a child of Dieppe, is it a symbol?

“It's a beautiful symbol.

When I met Esteban, I was very seduced by the person even though I was already convinced of the pilot.

It's a great story, he was enthusiastic about the Alpine project, he loves the brand, the origins and the people who surround Alpine.

That's how we wanted this story, it's a very beautiful chapter that he wrote today. ”

Is Esteban Ocon a model of resilience?

“Yes, and the team too.

This is the key word of this day.

The team went through difficult times, there are changes, the Covid, a car that moves more slowly… We had doubts but the team never gave up.

It's difficult to continue to fight as if we could hang on to victories when we have systematically sawtooth results, towards tenth place.

We have a really tight-knit team from Viry to Enstone.

Resilience is the symbol of this whole team. ”

And so that of Fernando Alonso, elected driver of the day after having worked well for Esteban ...

"Absoutely.

It is important to note this because Fernando has always had a reputation as a driver which can pose difficulties but he makes the team progress well like Esteban.

It's amazing to have such a talented and determined driver.

It gives courage to the whole team.

He held back Lewis (Hamilton) in a big way.

Not by blocking it but by making a level playing field with a less powerful car.

This also helps to dispel doubts about his level of performance related to his age.

He has provided an exemplary response for a few races already.

It is the victory of the team but also that of Fernando. ”

Fernando Alonso (14) waited for Esteban Ocon to congratulate him after his victory.

FLORION GOGA / REUTERS

Is the season already successful for Alpine?

"Yes and no.

Yes in the sense that it's like in football when you win the derby, the season is already a bit successful.

Afterwards, we do not lose sight of our medium-long term business plan with a clear objective of continuous progress.

We are happy because we are starting fifth (in the constructors' standings, editor's note), which was our result last year and we wanted to maintain this position.

If we stay on this momentum, this victory will have put the team in its place.

We have the other half of the season left, but we proved to ourselves that we can fight for that fifth place. "

Did you expect this victory?

“Obviously not, we must remain lucid. Depending on the value of our car and its usual pace, our place is between 9th and 10th place. We expected to systematically get into the points and we told ourselves that in this area it is always difficult because a team just needs to open its counter with big points and pass us to the standings. We keep in mind that we must be good at seizing our chances. We could easily imagine taking 4th, 5th, 6th place with the right optimization strategies, which are in our strings. But a victory? We didn't dare dream of it. But this one is not usurped, we did not recover it two laps from the end. We recovered this position from the first lap and we kept it until the end. Certainly,it arrived thanks to circumstances but it is the uncertainties that make the charm of a race. This flavor has a particular victory because it was certainly unexpected, but it is well deserved. "

The truce promises to be very pleasant ...

“Of course, that makes me happy for the team because they are competitors and everyone aspires to be very high in the standings.

It's always difficult to feel like we give so much to our work and not see this materialize in practice.

This will allow many people to leave with a light heart and enjoy a well-deserved rest. ”

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2021-08-01

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