After a strong qualifying yesterday, Sahara Force India F1 Team‘s Esteban Ocon got no further than the first lap of today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Ocon started the race in seventh place, ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez, and managed to overtake Scuderia Ferrari‘s Kimi Raikkonen off the line. However, the pair made contact in a frenetic first lap, and the Frenchman was punted into the wall, ending his race before it had really begun.
The stewards investigated the incident and found it to warrant no further action or punishment. However, Ocon believes that blame can be apportioned to the Finn, justifying that he was on the racing line when the contact took place.
“It’s disappointing not to finish the race on a day in which we had such good pace,” he commented.
“I had a flying start and I managed to pass Kimi [Raikkonen]. I was ahead of him all the way to turn two and when we went into the corner. I was behind Ricciardo but Kimi made a lunge and put me in the barriers.
“I feel it was my corner and I was on the racing line, but he locked up and hit me. I feel the mistake was on his side: we’ll see what the Stewards say but that won’t change the outcome for me.”
Conversely, Perez had a fantastic race, finishing on the podium after leader Valtteri Bottas sustained a puncture and was forced to retire. Ocon knows that the team had the pace and that it could have easily been him on the podium, but is pleased that they scored their first big points of the year after a slow start to the season.
“It’s a shame because Sergio showed we had the pace to do really well here today. I am still very pleased for the team’s result and I hope we can carry our performance forward to Barcelona and beyond.”