Nasr feels Ocon clash compromised Abu Dhabi race


Felipe Nasr - Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Felipe Nasr ended his second season with the Sauber F1 Team with a sixteenth place finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and felt a mid-race collision with Esteban Ocon prevented him from finishing higher.

The Brazilian was forced to pit for a new front wing as a result of his clash with the Manor Racing MRT driver, which ultimately caused a change of strategy, with Nasr ultimately finishing behind team-mate Marcus Ericsson at the Yas Marina Circuit.

“I had a very good start, climbing up to P14 on lap one,” said Nasr. “I did fight hard to stay there as long as I could, but we just did not have the pace to keep the competitors behind us.

“In the middle stint we were looking ok, just making sure to keep the Manors behind us, but unfortunately there was contact between one Manor and myself. The floor as well as the rim were damaged, and we also thought that the front wing was damaged, which forced me to come in for an earlier pit stop than originally planned.

“The race was compromised by then. If this incident hadn’t happened, we could have finished a bit higher up in the rankings.”

Nasr admitted it was important for Sauber to maintain their position in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Manor in Abu Dhabi, and despite both Ericsson and Nasr finishing behind both Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein on Sunday, the fact Manor failed to finish inside the points meant they finishing behind Sauber in the final standings.

“But most important was to guarantee our tenth position in the Constructors’ Championship,” said Nasr. “I am happy that we confirmed this position in the end.

“Summarising the season, I have enjoyed another year with Sauber. It was a challenging and difficult season, but I think these are the times when we learn the most. My relationship with everyone in the team was strong while facing challenging times throughout the season.

“The two points at the Brazilian Grand Prix made it all worthwhile – the whole team deserves it. Many thanks to everyone.”