Two-time F1 world champion Alonso returned to the Grand Prix last month after a two-year absence, joining Alpine for a third stint with the Enstone-based team.
Alonso has earned a reputation for being particularly dominant against his teammates throughout his F1 career, most notably in 2018 when he beat Stoffel Vandoorne 21-0 in head-to-head qualifying during the year.
But Ocon was able to finish ahead of Alonso in qualifying and in the race at Imola in their second race together at Alpine. It was the first time that Alonso had been overqualified by an F1 teammate since the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Asked by UKTN about his work with Ocon, Alonso was full of praise for his young teammate.
“I am really impressed and happy to have Esteban by my side,” Alonso said.
“He’s very professional, he works very hard, not only here on the track but also in the simulator. We shared a lot of things. As long as one of us is in the simulator, we are trying to be connected and work for a better car.
“I know he puts a lot of dedication into the team. It’s good for both drivers when you have a very hard working teammate, so that’s what he does.
“At the same time, you want to be as fast as your teammate or a little faster every time. This time [in Imola qualifying] it didn’t work like that, but i will try the next one. “
Only three drivers – Jenson Button in 2015, Lewis Hamilton in 2007 and Tarso Marques in 2001 – finished ahead of Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship as they raced for the same team for one season.
Ocon said he appreciated the opportunity to run with Alonso and learn from the Spaniard, who he has found easy to work with so far.
“It’s a great chance to work with a world champion next to me, he’s one of the best drivers,” said Ocon.
“A lot of people have told me things about him, and what I see from the inside, I really appreciate the cooperation so far. Fernando has a lot of honesty, so when he says something he means it.
“We have very similar comments about the car and it runs really well. He’s been really nice to me so far and he was one of the guys I was looking for when I was younger too.
“It’s very special for me to have a cooperation with Fernando, and I think it’s going to be closed all year.”