Is Ocon’s podium the first of many this year?

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Esteban Ocon says his third place at the Monaco Grand Prix is a massive boost for the team following criticism from Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

Alpine had been criticised in the press by Rossi, who was disappointed with how the team had begun the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Rossi slammed the team, accusing them of lacking desire to improve but that was not the case around the streets of Monte Carlo.

Having initially qualified fourth, Ocon was promoted to third place after a three-grid place penalty for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

He was able to hold off Carlos Sainz, and later Lewis Hamilton, to secure the third podium of his career.

“Everyone’s delighted, that’s for sure,” Ocon told select members of members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “Formula 1 is unpredictable; you don’t know what is going to happen.

“At the moment, with how tight the field is, a little bit more pace can change your weekend completely, and this weekend it has been an awesome one.

“An awesome preparation and as I keep saying, we keep pushing. We don’t stop believing, and hopefully it is the first podium of many.”

Turning point for Alpine

Ocon controlled the cars behind him expertly, as he received challenges from Sainz and Hamilton.

Despite being pressured by two Grand Prix winners, Ocon’s coolness did not waver as he did not relinquish his position in either the dry or wet conditions.

Into his fourth season back in F1, he managed to keep a one second gap to Hamilton in the final stint to find the chequered flag in the final podium spot.

Fernando Alonso, Pierre Wache, Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon celebrate on the Monaco GP podium | Ryan Pierse / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

It is the French driver’s first podium since his famous maiden win in Hungary in 2021.

The result could be a season-changing moment for the team formerly known as Renault, but Ocon exercises caution on this front.

“We’ll see next week; I think it’s a very different track in terms of characteristics here but clearly the car feels more alive, and I had a lot more confidence in it,” added Ocon.

“We did bring some updates that were supposed to be quite small, but everything we did went in the right direction today.

“I hope that this is the start of something, but I think we need to keep our feet on the ground, to see where we are next weekend.”

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