After admitting he was frustrated to end up twentieth on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon felt he had a much better race day at the Yas Marina Circuit, surviving a couple of clashes on his way to thirteenth.
The Manor Racing MRT driver had a mid-race tangle with Felipe Nasr as the two battled for position, and then banged wheels with team-mate Pascal Wehrlein with a couple of laps remaining, but felt it was a positive day for the team even though finished behind the Sauber F1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship.
“It was no secret that I was really frustrated after qualifying yesterday, so I was really fed up to be on the tenth row of the grid,” said Ocon. “Then I got a really good start and made up three places on the opening lap.
“I was running as high as eleventh during the race and we were looking really good versus the Sauber’s. I had the pace to get past Nasr but we touched and actually I lost my front wing end plate.
“I pitted for a second time and was able to catch right up with my team-mate before I eventually got by. Nevertheless, we got both cars home in strong positions to end the season on a strong note.
“It wasn’t enough to make up for Brazil but I think we can say that we did the best job possible over the past two weeks, so I’m happy.”
Ocon thanked Manor for allowing him the opportunity to make his Formula 1 debut this season as he now departs to join the Sahara Force India F1 Team in 2017, and admits he will always be rooting for Manor no matter who he drives for.
“I can’t thank Manor Racing enough for giving me this incredible opportunity to begin my F1 career,” said Ocon. “It has been a real pleasure and I have learned so much in every area that will be important experience for the rest of my career, so I will always be grateful for that.
“Although I will be racing elsewhere, I will always be rooting for Manor as the team has so much potential. Maybe one day soon we can have a friendly fight together on-track.”