‘I can’t do it’: Esteban Ocon refused to follow team orders in Miami

Esteban Ocon scored solid points at the Miami Grand Prix after finishing eighth whilst his team-mate ended up outside the points.

The Alpine F1 Team had an unsettled end to the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, with the team scrambling to try to keep Fernando Alonso in a points position.

The Spaniard had been running in eighth place but was awarded a five-second time penalty for a late move on Pierre Gasly at Turn 1.

Alonso’s audacious dive on the AlphaTauri driver saw the pair collide, with Gasly later on the same lap running wide at Turn 7 as a result of damage to his AT03.

Gasly rejoined the circuit unaware that Lando Norris was alongside on the racing-line, and hit the rear-right tyre of the McLaren driver.

The wheel instantly detached from Norris’ McLaren, sending the British driver spinning on the exit of the corner.

The Briton finally came to a halt alongside the wall, whilst the disembarked tyre sat on the other-side of the circuit.

The collision eventually resulted in the race’s only safety car, which bunched up the entire pack and hampered Alonso’s hopes of a points finish.

When awarded the penalty for his move on Gasly, the double world champion occupied eighth spot ahead of his team-mate and Alex Albon.

The team quickly got onto the radio to Esteban Ocon, who won his first-ever Formula 1 race at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix after being helped by his team-mate, to hold-up the pack behind.

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The Frenchman was quick to refuse to the team’s orders after being concerned he’d lose his own points position.

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Engineer: “We need a margin of seconds for Fernando, who has a penalty, slow down the cars behind, please. Do it now, please do it now.”

Ocon: “I can’t do it!”

Engineer: “Esteban, stop the cars.”

Ocon: “They’re going to overtake me if I do that! I can’t let myself down, guys, it’s not possible, I say it.”

By the end of the race though it appeared that Ocon did in fact slow down, or Alonso found some impressive late-pace.

Alonso crossed the line just over five-seconds ahead of tenth-placed Albon, meaning the Spaniard only lost one place whilst Ocon inherited eighth.

However, there was yet more trouble for Alonso as a few hours after the race the Alpine driver was awarded yet another five-second penalty.

Alonso was deemed to have gained an advantage off the track, dropping him to eleventh.

The disagreement between Ocon and his engineer comes after tensions between the Alpine driver pairing seem to be on a rise.

The pair were induced in a borderline-reckless battle earlier in the season in Saudi Arabia, which came as a surprise following both drivers excellent team-work in 2021.

Alonso played an instrumental part in Ocon’s maiden victory, by holding up a charging Lewis Hamilton for a number of laps.

Ocon played a similar role last year in Qatar after the Frenchman held up Sergio Pérez, with Alonso going on to achieve a superb third-place.