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Ocon gives the skinny on Hakkinen-like overtake at Spa

Esteban Ocon collected his eleventh top-ten finish of the season at Spa, but the highlight of the Alpine driver’s race was his three-wide overtake on the Kemmel Straight that took a page out of Mika Hakkinen’s book of racing.

Ocon launched his Belgian Grand Prix from P16 on the grid but capitalized on a strong start and on his Alpine’s straightline speed to power his way into the top ten after just seven laps.

The Frenchman made further progress after his first pitstop, eventually finding himself battling AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel for seventh in the closing stages of the race.

On lap 35, Ocon passed both drivers on the run-up towards Les Combes in a three-wide maneuver that recalled Hakkinen’s dramatic move on Michael Schumacher at Spa in 2000, when the pair breezed past on both sides of backmarker Ricardo Zonta.

  • Read also: F1i’s Driver Ratings for the 2022 Belgian GP

Ocon detailed the overtake, explaining that had been set up as early the trio’s exit from La Source. Ocon was trailing Vettel and Gasly on the run down to Eau Rouge but lifted slightly to give himself a clean run through Raidillon which in turn gave him more velocity on the Kemmel Straight.

“I was like, the detection is there and he [Vettel] is passing Pierre too early, because he’s not going to get the DRS!” the Frenchman explained.

“From there on, I lifted the throttle a bit, got myself a little bit of a gap to be able to use the straight-line speed. And then the surprise and confirmation was that Pierre had DRS.

“I was able to go on the left side. Seb was very fair, he could have closed a bit on the left but he didn’t do, and I managed to get Pierre around the outside of Turn 5.”

When it was pointed out to Ocon after the race that his move was almost a carbon copy of Hakkinen’s famous action, he laughed, saying that he had coincidentally spoken to the Finn earlier in the day at Spa.

“Mika came and talked to me before the race as well in the paddock! It’s a good coincidence,” said Ocon.

“It was definitely good fun. I’ve enjoyed the racing today, the car was extremely fast in a straight line, so I was managing the timing right about when to overtake.

“From where we started, I think 16th or 17th, I think we were expecting one point and we got six out of today. So definitely a good result for us.”

Beyond the spectacular on-track shuffle, Ocon admitted that his seventh place finish coupled with Fernando Alonso’s P5 had delivered to Alpine “our best weekend of the year so far, and probably since I joined the team”.

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