Esteban Ocon endured a disastrous race at the Portuguese Grand Prix, with a series of errors leading to his early retirement. The troubles began before the start of the race when Ocon was deemed to have started out of position, and a five-second penalty was imposed. However, when he came in for his next pit stop to serve the penalty, Alpine mechanics started work before the mandatory elapsed time, resulting in a 10-second penalty. Nevertheless, the problems continued as Ocon received another five-second penalty for breaking the pit lane speed limit by just 0.1 km/h on his way out of the pits.
Explaining the mistakes, Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer revealed that the issue was with the timing system, which counted down in the mechanics’ ear to signal when they could begin working on the car. The system started the countdown 0.4 seconds early, leading to the mechanic beginning work at the wrong time. However, Szafnauer is confident that the team can take the necessary steps to ensure such mistakes do not happen again.
Despite suffering a hugely frustrating race, with Ocon forced to retire early, Szafnauer hopes the experience will act as a wake-up call and prompt the team to be razor-sharp going forward. The team boss also acknowledged that Ocon, who was well outside the points, could learn from his mistake of starting out of position at the beginning of the race.