Sahara Force India F1 Team‘s Esteban Ocon will line up fifth on the grid for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix, even though he only qualified in seventh.
Grid penalties will affect many drivers tomorrow, including the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas who qualified ahead of Ocon. Therefore, the Frenchman has been promoted to the third row on the grid, ahead of his team-mate, Sergio Perez.
Ocon was understandably happy with his performance in qualifying and will be looking to move on from an odd Malaysian Grand Prix where he was involved in several small collisions and incidents with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Felipe Massa. This meant that he only just managed to get into the points, whereas Perez finished an impressive sixth.
“I’m feeling very happy after qualifying,” commented Ocon.
“The car has been fantastic since the beginning of the weekend, just as it was in Malaysia, and our result today shows the progress we have made recently developing the car.”
The team has only had to make minor adjustments to the car so far this weekend, and Ocon is feeling confident in its pace and performance. He thinks that both he and Perez are in a good position to score big points, especially with some of the quicker cars having to come from further back on the grid.
“Whether it’s been wet or dry, the car has been quick, and we’ve only had to make small adjustments to find the performance. With some penalties for other drivers, it looks as though I will start the race from fifth place, so there’s a great opportunity to score some big points.”