Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was left wondering what had changed between last year and this season that compelled the stewards to penalise him for an incident over which they would have taken no action in 2021.
Ocon was racing hard with Sir Lewis Hamilton during the early, wet stages of the Monaco Grand Prix and, as the 37-year-old tried to go to the inside at Sainte-Devote, they made contact.
The stewards deemed that the Frenchman had moved across unnecessarily as they converged on the apex of the corner, and he was given a five-second penalty.
The 25-year-old then got caught in the train caused by team-mate Fernando Alonso and, after struggling to find a way past Hamilton, he crossed the line in ninth behind the seven-time champion, but this became 12th when his penalty was applied.
Ocon was livid on team radio after the race.
“They can’t take the result away like that, this is favouritism. Crash into me or get the penalty, what is this – we can’t see in the mirrors here!” he exclaimed.
In the media pen, Ocon cut an irritated figure as he tried to comprehend why he had been given a penalty for what he felt was a racing incident.
“I think we did everything right in general,” he told Sky Sports.
“We were racing well until we got that five-second penalty which is not really justified unfortunately.
“So yeah, [I’m] very frustrated with that because it ruined our result of today’s race but that’s how it is.
“I went to review [the incident] with the stewards and they said if this was last year it could have been a racing incident so I don’t know what really has changed this year.”
He added that he was “not sure” why race control punished him, and is adamant that no one’s race was adversely affected by the contact.
“If you want to overtake in Monaco there has to be some kind of contact because there’s no space to do so, so Lewis was quicker behind with the other tyres,” explained Ocon.
“We are racing hard, for sure, but we are racing for position, and we are racing at the end again so today it was fair racing.
“A bit of contact for sure but we didn’t suffer any of us so it is very disappointing and I’m pretty frustrated.”
Alonso’s P7 in the Principality puts him up to 13th in the Drivers’ Standings, one point behind Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, who both failed to score points last weekend.