Lewis Hamilton praised “shining star” Esteban Ocon after his maiden Formula 1 victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Ocon started eighth at the Hungaroring but moved up to second following a chaotic first lap and then went on to claim the lead when Hamilton stayed out on Intermediate tyres.
Ocon kept Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel at bay throughout the race to become the 111th different driver to claim a Formula 1 victory.
Hamilton previously worked with Ocon at Mercedes; Ocon was part of the manufacturer’s junior programme and spent 2019 as the team’s reserve driver.
“I’ve got to say a huge congratulations to the Alpine team and to Ocon,” said Hamilton, who finished third, later second due to Vettel’s exclusion.
“He’s been a shining star for some time now so it’s been a long time coming and I’m really, really happy for him.
“I think in his journey, this shows to everyone out there his potential. He’s racing against a two-times World Champion. Fernando’s not an easy driver to beat. So this really speaks volumes.”
Ocon’s first victory came 18 years after Alonso’s maiden triumph at the same venue.
“My first victory came here with Renault in 2003, now Esteban has won as Alpine in 2021,” said Alonso.
“I am so happy for him and for the guys. Sometimes we have been unlucky but it was one of the lucky days and we have to maximise these opportunities.”
Ocon’s 2020 team-mate Daniel Ricciardo also congratulated the Frenchman.
“The first one is special; it is very special,” he said. “The emotions are high and especially after a race like today it is a crazy feeling.
“I am happy for him because the experience of winning a Grand Prix is something we dream about our whole life. So for him to have his first one now he is really living a dream come true.”