Formula 1

Esteban Ocon: “It’s never nice to have an incident with your teammate”

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Esteban Ocon VJM10. Azerbaijan GP 2017. Credit: Force India Formula One Team Limited

Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Esteban Ocon was disappointed that the team were unable to maximise their performance at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend, following yet another incident involving team-mate Sergio Perez.

The pair had been sat in third and fourth place behind the second safety car of the race, and when the re-start came, both drivers got good launches to move ahead of Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in second place.

However, Ocon noticed his team-mate had gone deep into Turn 1 and as they headed for Turn 2, saw his chance to overtake. The Frenchman took the inside line and went for the pass, but squeezed Perez on the outside, leaving the Mexican nowhere to go.

The result was that the two drivers locked wheels, with both sustaining damage and having to slowly make their way back to the pits, denying themselves and the team a potential podium finish.

Perez was forced to retire from the race, but Ocon made a good recovery to take sixth at the chequered flag, and although annoyed at what had happened, the Frenchman said they would need to discuss what went on before apportioning any blame.

“It’s hard to sum up your feelings after such a busy race. I’m happy with our performance and also disappointed not to realise the potential we had today.

“It’s never nice to have an incident with your teammate and it was costly for both of us – we both lost a lot of time and positions. Fortunately, I could recover, overtake a lot of cars and score some important points for the team.

“We will discuss things internally and see what happened, but when you are racing close to each other at a restart these things can happen sometimes.

“Sergio was very deep into turn one at the restart and I went on his inside. He squeezed me between turns one and two, and I was on the inside going into turn two.

“He was trying to resist on the outside of the corner and we touched. We need to review it together and understand more. For sure it should not happen again in the future.”

That incident ruined the chance of a potential podium or even victory for both Perez and Ocon on Sunday, the Force India having looked racy throughout the grand prix.

That is now the second grand prix in a row, that the team-mates have been involved in a race result damaging incident, leaving the management at Force India some serious questions, on what to do next to ensure it does not happen again.

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