Esteban Ocon: “For a while I believed the podium was possible“

Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Esteban Ocon was thrilled to come home in fifth place at the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix, after a hard fought race that helped secure fourth place in the constrictors standings for the Silverstone based squad.

“It’s a great day for the team. Fifth place in the race and securing fourth place in the championship is a fantastic achievement after a strong season.”

Ocon was sat in third place for the majority of the race, with a podium looking very much on the cards, until a virtual safety car period allowed Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen to take advantage and pit, allowing him to catch and move ahead of the Frenchman.

“For a while I believed the podium was possible because I was sitting in third place for so long. I made a great start and then I pushed as hard as I could in the free air.

“Sadly the Virtual Safety Car gave Kimi an advantage during the pit stops and he was able to overtake us.”

In the final part of the race Ocon had the quickly advancing Williams Martini Racing driver Lance Stroll to contend with, who was on much fresher and faster rubber, but the Frenchman did a fantastic job to hold him off until the chequered flag and claim fifth place, having been passed by the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, who was on a charge through the field.

Having battled hard throughout the race, Ocon says it made the result even sweeter, and he is looking forward to celebrating the result with the team.

“The final few laps of the race with Stroll behind me were not easy. He had fresher tyres and managed to catch me, so I had to give it everything to stay ahead.

“When you work so hard for a result it feels very satisfying so I look forward to celebrating tonight.”