Esteban Ocon was the best of the rest behind the leading three teams during second practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday, and the Frenchman praised his team for giving him a much better car in that session compared to the morning session that saw him down in ninth.
The Sahara Force India F1 Team racer ended 1.252 seconds off the pace in the morning session but got to within eight tenths of Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon to place seventh, comfortably ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.
“I’m happy with today,” said Ocon. “This morning the car was not at its best, but we made a massive step forward during second practice.
“The car feels much better now – close to where it should be, so it’s another good job by the team who made the correct decisions during the day. We need to keep improving ahead of tomorrow and hopefully we can be in our usual position for qualifying.”
Ocon admitted that he was not expecting the conditions to be so humid on Friday, and he felt it was one of the toughest days behind the wheel of his VJM10, and was up there with Singapore.
“It was very tough physically today because it’s very hot and humid – a bit like Singapore,” said Ocon. “I wasn’t expecting this and it was one of the toughest days in the car this year.”
Team-mate Perez, who only participated in the afternoon session after the team gave GP3 Series champion George Russell time in the car, could only finish twelfth fastest, almost four-tenths of a second down on Ocon, but the Mexican feels the team gathered a lot of information that will benefit them on Saturday.
“I only drove this afternoon so there was a lot of work to squeeze into one session,” said Perez.
“It wasn’t easy to make the balance adjustments because of the tyre degradation during the session, but the team has collected a lot of good information and this will help us take a good direction tomorrow.”