Alpine Score Double Points At Wet Japanese Grand Prix

BWT Alpine F1 Team scored 18 points from the Japanese Grand Prix with Esteban Ocon fourth and Fernando Alonso seventh after a shortened race at a rain soaked Suzuka.

Heavy rain hit Suzuka in the hour leading up to the race start with both drivers starting on Intermediate tyres.

Ocon moved up to fourth after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz’s lap one retirement with Alonso holding onto sixth before the race was then red-flagged due to the deteriorating conditions, which brought a lengthy delay.

When the race resumed with both drivers started on full Wets under the Safety Car before the rolling restart with 45 minutes about 28 laps remaining to the chequered flag.

At the front Ocon was locked in a race long battle with Lewis Hamilton where his defensive skills proved enough to hold off the seven-time world champion.

Ocon, who finished fourth, said: “To finish fourth is a fantastic result for us, especially in these conditions. It was a difficult start with the rain and poor visibility, so we had to be fully focused to get through the early stages.

“I’m glad we managed to race and reward the fans who have been so good in their support all weekend. Racing Lewis [Hamilton] is always a pleasure and I was having to drive while looking in my mirrors the whole time.

“Congratulations to Max for winning the world championship. He deserves it after dominating and driving brilliantly at every race. We leave Japan with a great haul of points, claiming back fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Further back Alonso twice pitted for Intermediates as he looked to jump Sebastian Vettel to sixth place.

Overtaking three cars after clawing back 22 seconds in six laps on his way to seventh before narrowly missing out on a photo finish with 0.011secs between him and the German driver for sixth place.

Alonso, who maintained seventh, said: “It was a fun but very chaotic race today and I’m glad we managed to put on a show in the end for the fans. We scored some good points and I think we could have scored even more.

“It was a difficult race to manage with the wet conditions, safety cars and the red flag. There were also couple of incidents which I’m sure will be reviewed to improve for the future.

“Finally, congratulations to Max [Verstappen] on winning the Championship. Overall, it’s very well deserved and hopefully next year he has more competition.”

The team moves back into fourth place above McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship as Formula One heads to the United States and Austin, Texas.