Esteban Ocon admitted he was baffled to find himself going slower in the top ten shootout for the Belgian Grand Prix than he managed during the second phase of qualifying, with the Frenchman being forced to settle for ninth on the grid as a result.
The Sahara Force India F1 Team driver felt his grip levels deteriorate the longer the qualifying session went on, and as a result Ocon was three-tenths of a second slower in his final run that his best in Q2 in a session where times traditionally improve.
Despite this, Ocon, who made his Formula 1 debut a year ago at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, feels confident that his race pace is good, with the set-up of his VJM10 aimed at being quick in the first and third sectors, which slightly compromises the team in the second sector.
“I think a better result was possible today,” said Ocon. “From Q2 onwards I started to lose some grip and we need to analyse and understand what happened. I was three tenths faster on my Q2 lap compared to Q3 so we didn’t maximise things and I’m not totally satisfied.
“However, I feel confident about the race. The car is working well and we have a quick race car, especially in the first and final sectors. That will help us tomorrow.
“It’s a track that encourages good racing and I think there will be opportunities tomorrow and some close battles.”