Force India’s Esteban Ocon scored only the second top six finish of his career, yet was still left wanting more, feeling a potential podium finish had been lost.
Ocon was the last of the frontrunners to take his first and only stop, stretching the life of the ultrasoft tyres he had qualified on to 32 laps. This gave him fresher rubber than both Daniel Ricciardo and team-mate Sergio Pérez during his second stint, the pair with which he was battling for a potential podium.
“I am a bit frustrated by this result because I feel a podium may have been possible,” he explained. “This is the way racing goes and we have to look at the positives: we had a great car that allowed us to take the fight to Ferrari and Red Bull and that is quite impressive.”
Despite the missed opportunity, Ocon felt positive he would get more chances this season to challenge for a podium position, suggesting the car can compete at the same level as some of the front-runners in the field.
“I am confident it won’t be the last time we will fight at this level and it was an awesome feeling – a really enjoyable race,” he reflected afterwards. “The team as a whole did a great job today – they gave me such a fast car and we can be proud of our work and of the points we have gained.”
This is now the fourth race from seven Ocon has finished directly behind his team-mate, mirroring his performances in China, Russia and Spain. In addition, he also sits directly behind his team-mate in the World Drivers’ Championship standings, with 27 points on the board compared to 44 for Pérez.