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Alpine explain thrilling Alonso Ocon fight

Alpine explain thrilling Alonso Ocon fight

Alpine explain thrilling Alonso Ocon fight

Alpine explain thrilling Alonso Ocon fight
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has explained why the team allowed Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon to battle hard during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The team-mates fought for position across a number of laps, coming close to contact on more than one occasion and allowing Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen to join the dispute over sixth.

When Alonso eventually established himself ahead of Ocon, Alpine called on the Frenchman to hold position.

"It was clean, it’s what the fans want to see and we told them at the beginning we’ll allow them to race," explained Szafnauer.

"The only reason I did this [gave a team order] was we were losing a little more time than anticipated, so we had to.

"It was a little bit the track specifics of here and a little bit because the cars can follow each other easier now, which was the aim of the new regulations.

"Because of it, if you can follow easier you can start overtaking each other one lap after the next. We got to see how Melbourne goes, then adjust."

On whether his heart was in his mouth when watching his drivers fight for position, Szafnauer replied: "The thing is it’s a high-speed track here, the walls are close.

"They did exactly what we talked about before the race and it was good for everything.

"As it turns out, had Fernando [Alonso] not stopped on track we would have been sixth and seventh and given the fans a bit of a show.

"We did give the fans a bit of a show and that’s what it’s about, you’ve got to let them race."

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