Esteban Ocon gave his all but fell short of the podium finish by a tenth of a second as Valtteri Bottas glided past right at the edge of the finish line.
On Sunday, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit witnessed one of the most thrilling races of the year, as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was denied a podium finish by mighty Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who is now a favourite to win their eighth Formula One Constructors championship.
The Frenchman, who started the race from 9th position, was quick to climb up five places right before the first red flag of the race as Mick Schumacher crashed out, causing the safety car to come to light precisely before the red flags appeared as the barriers needed a repair.
The Frenchman marched his Alpine to the 2nd position as lights went out again. Unfortunately, the race was red-flagged for the second time after Charles Leclerc collided with Sergio Perez’s left rear tyre, spinning the Mexican’s vehicle and causing distractions for George Russell. The latter slowed down, forcing Nikita Mazepin to clash with his William FW43B.
Esteban Ocon fought like a lion among the very best
After the restart, Ocon was quickly overtaken by the two title contenders but maintained the third position, four seconds distance between him and Flying Finn with the help of the virtual safety car, which ensured no one could close the gap. At the same time, the track was cleaned as the race marshalls continued clearing the debris on the track.
The fans were ecstatic to see the F1 visuals switch back and forth between Bottas and Ocon for third place during the race’s final laps. However, the Flying Finn inched past the Alpine right at the finish line of the race with the help of DRS.
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) December 6, 2021
After a bolt out of the blue win in Hungary, Mr Oconsistency was denied yet another podium finish. However, as the nickname suggests, he finished in the top ten in three consecutive races. All positives for Alpine, who want to finish the season on a high note in Abu Dhabi, building on Fernando Alonso’s third-place finish in Qatar.
Esteban Ocon au bord des larmes après avoir manqué le podium de peu…💔
— Off Track (@OffTrack_FR) December 6, 2021
Ocon, who has got his driver seat bolted for 2022, showcased why he is the right choice alongside Alonso despite the competition faced against inaugural Saudi Arabia F2 feature race winner Oscar Piastri. The latter is inching closer to the Driver’s Championship with PREMA and will be the reserve driver for Alpine in 2022.