Bahrain GP: How did Esteban Ocon get so many penalties?

Alpine F1 team’s Esteban Ocon endured a miserable Bahrain GP. During the season opener, he picked up numerous penalties before ultimately retiring. But how did he get into such an unfortunate situation?

The French driver actually had a decent start to the weekend. In qualifying, he reached Q3, earning a ninth-place start on the grid. This, therefore, set up Ocon with a great chance of getting points – in theory.  

However, come race day, everything soon unravelled. After the warm-up lap, the Alpine ace stopped inaccurately in his grid spot. He received a five-second penalty as a result, but this did not occur until lap 15.

Prior to this, Esteban Ocon had pitted on lap 12 of the Bahrain GP, stopping as per his race strategy. So, the five-second stop-go penalty coming just laps later came at an inopportune moment, to say the least.

Making matters even worse was the fact that Alpine messed up his stop-go punishment. Before five seconds had elapsed, mechanics began to sort Ocon’s damaged front wing. This resulted in another penalty – this time of ten seconds.

Finally, race officials added further insult to injury by handing Ocon a third infringement. This time, though, it was driver fault; the Frenchman was speeding in the pitlane, prompting an extra five-second penalty.

Esteban Ocon finished a wretched Bahrain GP by retiring on lap 43.

Not only was it a frustrating night for the Alpine driver, but it was also a historic one. Ocon’s three penalties matched the record for most in a single Grand Prix, set by Pastor Maldonado at the 2015 Hungarian GP.

The Frenchman understandably cut a forlorn figure in his post-race media duties.

Esteban Ocon laments “missed opportunity” at disastrous Bahrain GP

Speaking after a dismal showing in the first race of 2023, Esteban Ocon was impressed for all the wrong reasons.

“[It was] quite impressive how it was not our day today,” said the Alpine driver, via “We are usually quite good on these operational things. Pit stops, stopping at the right places… these are things that we put a lot of effort on. So, everything went wrong today for sure.

“It has never gone like that in the past, ever, so I’m a bit surprised to see that this happened. But we will analyse and come back stronger from it.

“We were on course to score points,” he added. “We were on the way to do it. It’s a missed opportunity, but that’s how it is.”

In contrast to Ocon’s torrid weekend, his new teammate, Pierre Gasly, had a strong performance . Despite starting dead last, Alpine’s newest driver utilised the undercut strategy to finish ninth on his team debut.

The French duo will hope for a less dramatic weekend at the next round in Saudi Arabia.

Featured image credit: Getty