Esteban Ocon: “I really wanted to finish on the podium today”


Esteban Ocon - Sahara Force India F1 Team. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Esteban Ocon was a tad dismayed not to make the podium at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, having started from third place on the grid, after the numerous grid penalties that plagued almost half the grid, were applied.

The Frenchman had been hoping to finish in the top three, but was still really pleased with the team’s performance across the weekend.

Despite his initial disappointment, Ocon took heart from the way the team had performed, and felt that sixth place was probably the best result they could have hoped for, considering their speed deficit to the likes of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Scuderia Ferrari, whose drivers were the only ones to finish the race ahead of Ocon.

“I really enjoyed the race and I’m happy with our performance. At the same time, I’m a little disappointed because I really wanted to finish on the podium today.

“But you have to be realistic and we didn’t have the pace to match Mercedes and Ferrari, so I think sixth place was the maximum we could achieve.”

The 20-year-old had some good, clean on-track battles with Kimi Raikkonen and Williams Martini Racing driver Lance Stroll, but although he was able to keep the young Canadian behind him, the Ferrari’s pace proved too strong to get the better of on this occasion.

“At one stage we were racing against Raikkonen and I thought we could keep him behind, but he was just too quick. I also had a good battle with Stroll for most of the race and I had to work hard to keep him behind me.”

Having qualified in his best ever position, as well as taking sixth place in the race, Ocon described the Italian Grand Prix race weekend as one of his best so far.

“With the strong qualifying yesterday and the sixth place today, it’s been a great weekend. I have to say a big thanks to the whole team for all their hard work and for giving me such a competitive car.”