Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Esteban Ocon says he was “annoyed” he wasn’t able to qualify higher, and believes there was more pace in the car.
Ocon qualified ninth, one place behind teammate Sergio Perez and two places down on where he believes the car should have been. This is the thirteenth time he’s been beaten in qualifying by his teammate, though this crucially is his first full season in Formula 1 compared to Perez’s seventh.
The Abu Dhabi is one of the few races to be held in the evening, and Ocon believes that falling temperatures hindered the team’s performance in qualifying.
“I’m not totally satisfied with our session today because I think we could have been higher up the grid. I think seventh place was realistic, but the traffic didn’t go our way today and there were a few other things that I didn’t’ maximise. It’s always a difficult qualifying session here with the temperatures dropping and you have to work hard to get the tyres in the right operating window.”
Ahead of tomorrow’s race, Ocon says that he’s frustrated that he wasn’t able to show the pace of the car in qualifying, though knows that the race is what counts.
“I’m just annoyed I didn’t show the true pace of the car, but it’s only Saturday and the race is what really counts. I want to make a good start, jump ahead of a few cars and end the season with a strong result.”
This will be the first chance for Ocon to restart his run of consecutive finishes, having retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix last time out after a record twenty-seven finishes in a row.