Ocon enjoying Alonso 'cooperation' after initial warnings

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Esteban Ocon is enjoying the "cooperation" with Fernando Alonso in the early stages of their partnership at Alpine.

Historically, the double world champion has been a difficult driver to have as a teammate, just ask the likes of Jarno Trulli, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne.

But after a few years competing as part of a trio in WEC and perhaps as he mellows with age, Ocon has seen a different Alonso so far at the Enstone-based team.

"A lot of people have told me things about him, but what I am seeing from the inside, I am really enjoying the cooperation so far," he said.

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"Fernando has a lot of honesty, so when he says something, he means it.

"We have very similar comments about the car and it is working really well. He has been very nice to me so far and he was one of the guys I was looking up to when I was younger.

"It is very special for me to have a cooperation with Fernando, and I think it is going to be close all year."

Alonso too was also full of praise for Ocon.

"Definitely I'm impressed and I'm happy to have Esteban alongside me," the 39-year-old commented.

"He's very professional, he works very hard, not only here trackside but also in the simulator.

"We shared a lot of stuff. While either of us is in the simulator, we try to be connected and work towards a better car.

"I know that he puts a lot of dedication into the team. It's good for both drivers when you have a teammate who works very hard, so he's doing that.

"At the same time, you want to be as fast as your teammate or a little bit faster every time," he admitted. "This time [at Imola] it didn't work into that way, but I will try the next one."

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Indeed, so far Ocon has had the edge on Alonso, becoming the first teammate to outqualify the Spaniard since Vandoorne at Sepang in 2017 at Imola.

Then on race day, he would overtake Alonso on track en route to finishing ninth, one place ahead of his teammate.

“We had good fights together with Fernando – it was good fun. I feel like there was potentially more on the table today; the pace was good inside the Top 10,” Ocon said post-race.

“We could probably have done P7, P8, get in that group, but you know that’s how it is today. We get the reward with one point and will get more with the next one.”