Fernando Alonso and his teammate Esteban Ocon painted the Saudi Arabian GP pink with a wheel-to-wheel action between the two teammates. The two drivers appeared to have similar pace early on in the race allowing Alonso to overtake his teammate.
Ocon, however, did not take the move lying down as he attacked the Spaniard in the subsequent laps with both drivers not giving an inch to the other during the fight. The team intervened afterward as Alonso was able to hold the advantage in the battle and the Frenchman was ordered to hold position.
Reflecting on the rather intense battle between the two drivers, Jacques Villeneuve pointed out Ocon's rather staunch defense at the start of the battle to be a bit out of order. The 1997 F1 world champion said:
“It didn’t make sense for Ocon to push like that. Why would you fight so hard with your teammate at the beginning of the race? In this case, you can hurt both yourself and your teammate. Ultimately, it hurts your team.”
Villeneuve was correct in pointing that out as the battle between Alonso and Ocon allowed both Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen to close up. Later in the race, Ocon succumbed to the Alfa Romeo, after Bottas was able to overtake him on the track.
Fernando Alonso retired from the race due to reliability issues
Fernando Alonso was able to establish himself in the battle against Esteban Ocon and even appeared to have the pace to hold off Valtteri Bottas. Later in the race, however, disaster struck for the Spaniard as he encountered reliability issues with the car that forced him to retire from the race.
His teammate, on the other hand, was able to keep his nose clean and nurse the car home in 6th. After the first two rounds, Alonso finds himself with just two points in the bag while his teammate Esteban Ocon has 14 to his name.
Reflecting on the rather unfortunate turn of events in Saudi Arabia, Alonso felt that the underlying pace of Alpine and the strong start shown were reasons enough to be optimistic for the season.
Alonso hasn't often been challenged by his teammates in his career. It will be interesting to see how this battle unfolds in the future.