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Esteban Ocon narrowly avoids disaster with media personnel in the pit lane

Esteban Ocon narrowly avoids disaster with media personnel in the pit lane

The Alpine driver was on his way into the pit lane on the final lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and nearly ran over a group of people.

Esteban Ocon narrowly avoided a huge disaster at the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with F1 media personnel in his way in the pit lane.

Sergio Perez put in a statement victory on Sunday afternoon, as the Red Bull Racing driver beat teammate Max Verstappen to top spot on the podium.

It meant that the Mexican had a double race weekend of wins, having also topped the charts on Saturday in the controversial sprint race, thanks in part to Verstappen's crash with George Russell.

That all meant that Red Bull continued their 100% winning start to the season and left Perez just six points behind the reigning drivers' champion.

Whilst nothing at the very front of the race was particularly exciting, there were more intriguing battles further back in the pack, as teams tried to maximise the best result they could get.

Alpine decided that they would keep Ocon out in the race on his original set of tyres for as long as possible, perhaps hoping a red flag or safety car would help them get a 'free' pit stop.

When that wasn't the case, the Frenchman had to come in to change tyres on the final lap of the race, and that's when disaster nearly struck.

Clearly someone forgot about Ocon's need to come into the pits, with footage showing just how close he came to disaster, and hitting the hoard of media personnel who had been given post race access to the pit lane.

Following the incident, which could have been fatal, the FIA took the bizarre step of having to summon its own personnel to see the stewards.

In a statement, the governing body said, "Personnel (were) blocking the fast lane in the pit lane on the final lap of the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix while the pit lane remained open."

Further footage showed how no one had seemed to spot that the former Force India driver still had to come into the pits, with a barrier being shown across the entrance.

The rules in F1 state that all drivers need to use at least two of the different tyre compounds in a dry race, meaning at least one pit stop.

In an attempt to reduce the time cost of that stop, Alpine were hoping that an incident on the track would give them a different chance to change Ocon's tyres.

Speaking straight after the race, the visibly upset 26-year-old said, "This is crazy.

"It could have been a big, big one today. It’s definitely something that needs to be discussed."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner added, That needs a review. That’s something the FIA need to police better before the end of the race."

Alpine's tactics didn't work, with Ocon finishing the race in 15th place, one behind teammate, and fellow Frenchman, Pierre Gasly.

Behind the two Red Bulls came Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who had started on pole position, followed by Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Lance Stroll and George Russell.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports

Topics: Formula 1, Alpine, France