Ocon dissatisfied with qualifying effort after Q2 mistake


Esteban Ocon felt he should have been closer to team-mate Sergio Perez in qualifying - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Esteban Ocon will start the Australian Grand Prix from fourteenth on the grid but felt a mistake on his final flying lap cost him the opportunity of an even better grid slot.

The Frenchman made it through to the second phase of qualifying for the first time in his Formula 1 career but was disappointed to not be higher, especially with team-mate Sergio Perez qualifying eleventh.

Ocon feels there is a lot of potential to come from the Sahara Force India F1 Team, but knows the margins amid the midfield are extremely small, so mistakes like the one in Australia will be punished.

“I’ve been on the learning curve this week in Melbourne and I’m not feeling particularly satisfied with today’s qualifying session,” said Ocon. “Yes, it’s the first time I’ve reached Q2, but there is more potential in the car.

“I learned a huge amount during the session and despite being far away from Sergio in Q1, I was much closer in Q2. Unfortunately I made a small mistake on my final run, so I missed the chance to be higher up the grid.

“We saw today just how close the midfield fight is going to be this year because even small margins can make a huge difference. On the positive side, we improved the car during qualifying; we improved our procedures and we’ve learned things that will help us going forward.”

Ocon believes there he will be in contention for points on Sunday, and if he manages to break into the top ten it will be his first in Formula 1, and he is ready for the challenge.

“I go into tomorrow’s race believing there is a good opportunity to fight for points,” said Ocon. “The first challenge will be the new start procedures, which could really mix things up on lap one. I’m excited for tomorrow and ready for my first race in Melbourne!”