Mika Hakkinen believes Fernando Alonso’s performance in the Hungarian Grand Prix means the Spaniard has repaid Alpine for the faith the French outfit has shown in him.
Alonso’s provisional fourth-place finish at the Hungaroring complimented the outstanding win by Esteban Ocon.
But the Frenchman owed his maiden F1 triumph in large part to Alonso’s ability to fend off in the latter part of the race the unrelenting assaults of Lewis Hamilton.
As the two F1 veterans diced for the better part of ten laps, Alonso’s staunch defense crucially delayed Hamilton’s charge and in the end allowed Ocon to enjoy a day of glory.
“I really believe he [Hamilton] would have won the race had Fernando Alonso not managed to keep him behind,” Hakkinen commented in his post-race column for Unibet.
“When you consider that Lewis finished the race 2.7 seconds behind Esteban Ocon, and was lapping so much faster, Alpine really can thank Fernando for using all his experience to keep the Mercedes behind.
“That was a really fascinating duel to watch. In one race Fernando has repaid Alpine for the faith they have shown in him.
“I think it is brilliant that Alpine have won a Grand Prix. The last time a French car and engine won a race was with Alain Prost at Renault in 1983, so this is a very special moment for Alpine – in its first season for the brand in F1 – and for the Renault Group.
“It will really give the team an enormous boost and is a perfect result for Ocon after recently signing a new three year contract.”
Read also – Alpine: Ocon’s final pit stop triggered hopes of win
Alonso wasn’t the only seasoned driver singled out by Hakkinen as the Finn also praised the performance of Sebastian Vettel, who hounded Ocon for all his worth.
The Aston Martin charger finished second on the road, but the German driver was later disqualified for a fuel sample breach, a sanction that has been appealed by his team.
“It was also a fantastic result for Aston Martin and Sebastian Vettel, so long as they keep the second placed finish,” said Hakkinen.
“Every team has to be able to supply the FIA with a one litre sample of fuel after a race, so they now have some nervous days ahead while the fuel system is checked.”
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