Esteban Ocon is making his racing debut at the Baku street circuit this weekend, and the Force India driver is hoping to carry his Montreal form into the event despite having no experience of the track.
The Frenchman visited the circuit as part of his duties as a test driver for Renault last season, but did not get an opportunity to sample the course behind the wheel, and has resorted to other methods to compensate for his knowledge deficit.
“I’ve been playing some computer games to learn the track so I’ve done my homework,” he explained. “It’s another new track for me, but I’ll keep trying to learn as fast as possible and I’m sure I can get on the pace quickly.”
“I was able to explore a bit last year so I know my way around the place and I’ve walked the track, but I’ve yet to drive there.”
While eventually settling for sixth place by race’s end, Ocon had spent the latter part of the previous round in Canada vying with his team-mate for a potential podium finish, and he is optimistic this form can carry into the Baku weekend regardless of his greenness with the venue.
“It felt great to be in the battle for a podium and to see how competitive we are as a team. It makes me feel excited about going to Baku and what we can achieve there. It feels like we’ve got a really good understanding of how to get the most from this car.”
Ocon has been one of the most consistent drivers in Formula 1 this season, scoring at every race bar Monaco, and is looking to better his current career-best fifth place finish from the Spanish Grand Prix earlier in the year.