Among the numerous aspects that occurred during the Turkish Grand Prix, the one that will enter the history of Formula 1 bears the signature of Esteban Ocon: for the first time since the 1997 Monaco GP, a driver has finished a race without ever changing tires. An extreme choice that also earned the Frenchman the tenth place, allowing him to grab the points area in extremis despite the inevitable difficulties encountered in the last laps with tire management. A decision that, with ten laps to go, seemed to have been definitively taken also by Lewis Hamilton, with the latter intending to take his Mercedes to the finish line too without going through the pits. This desire was then cut short by the imposition of his team, which called him back to the pit lane to mount a new set of intermediates, with a final fifth place that generated friction between the reigning world champion and his team. .

However, if the British driver had really insisted on moving forward with his mission, today we would probably be analyzing a real defeat for Hamilton, both in terms of the race and, above all, in his fight for the world title. Demonstrating how risky the option of The Hammer there would also be the times recorded by Ocon in the last laps of the race, from 51st to 58th and final round. As already mentioned, the Alpine driver was the only one who did not make the pit stop: a choice made in agreement with your team even before departure. Thanks to this common goal, the Frenchman therefore played the entire race without pushing as instead Hamilton did, called to make a comeback from 11th place on the grid to recover precious ground on Verstappen.

Despite this more restrained approach, Ocon enjoyed a slightly greater advantage than the 21 seconds on his pursuer Giovinazzi, who then finished in 11th place. From lap 53 onwards, the Hungarian GP winner lost a position to Stroll, and had to give the race leaders the opportunity to lap. This last detail is to be taken into consideration to analyze Ocon’s actual waste of time, but the most impressive data is related to the gradual and rapid decrease in the gap between him and Giovinazzi.

51 9 1:36.053 1:36.997 -0.944 -21.210
52 9 1:36.143 1:33.665 -2.478 -18.732
53 10 1:37.538 1:33.353 -4.177 -14.555
54 10 1:36.282 1:33.165 -3.177 -11.438
55 10 1:36.978 1:34.065 -2.923 -8.515
56 10 1:39.537 1:36.144 -3.393 -5.122
57 10 1:37.271 1:32.904 -4.367 -0.755

From lap 51 onwards, in fact, Ocon has lost one average of 4 seconds per lap by Giovinazzi, who, thanks to a clamorous error of assessment on the overtaking to be made, did not complete the attack on the Frenchman, however closing at 7 tenths from the Alpine discharges. We would therefore have to ask ourselves what Hamilton’s fate would have been if he had continued with the tires he had used from the beginning. In addition to the different pace imposed by the Englishman, much more aggressive than the cautious one implemented by Ocon, the evaluation of the Head of F1 & Car Racing should also be emphasized Mario Isola, who, once he saw the conditions of Hamilton’s tires, defined them “Really on the edge”, foreshadowing that there would be a very high risk of a puncture that would compromise the entire race.

In addition to this, we must not forget the possibility, always by the seven-time world champion, of being able to really defend himself from the return of Perez e Leclerc, who instead opted for a tire change. In fact, with a more performing compound, both the Mexican and the Monegasque could have outclassed the Mercedes driver quite easily, who, in the best of hypotheses, would have finished in fifth place, abandoning the idea of ​​the podium. All this, again on the basis of the conditions of his tires and the times recorded by Ocon in his extreme choice to continue to the end, with the state of his Pirellis which, albeit with success, underline the enormous risk taken by the transalpine.

FP | Alessandro Prada


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