Deputy team principal of the Sahara Force India F1 Team Robert Fernley has uncovered that Esteban Ocon suffered from a brake-by-wire issue in the closing stages of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Despite the adversity, Ocon managed to keep sixth place – his best finish of the year so far – ahead of Pierre Gasly, Nico Hülkenberg and the recovering Max Verstappen, who all finished within two seconds of the Frenchman.
The result helped Force India edge closer to fifth placed McLaren F1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship, after they failed to score in a troublesome race for the Woking team. Furthermore, the team leapfrogged McLaren’s fellow Monaco strugglers, the Haas F1 Team.
Speaking to Autosport, Fernley hailed a “great result” for Ocon and the team, adding that the 21-year-old lost his brake-by-wire system for the final two laps of the race.
“Esteban lost the brake-by-wire for the last two laps,” he said. “How he managed to drive it was remarkable, a great effort from him.
“But it was a great result for Esteban, especially with the braking problems he had in the last couple of laps.
“He’s had a couple of difficult races, so it’s nice to come back with a good one.”
Fernley revealed that before the weekend Force India were looking for any mechanical or driver errors from the leading pack in order to boost their position. Although Verstappen’s crash in Free Practice 3 enabled them to qualify in the top six – courtesy of Ocon – Fernley says that the result shows that the team are recovering from a difficult start to the 2018 season.
“From our side we were only looking for mistakes and reliability issues to move up,” he admitted. “There weren’t any, so we are where we are.
“It was just disappointing that we didn’t get [Sergio Pérez] in the points, which is what we would have liked. Overall a very good result.
“We had an unfortunate pitstop with Checo, and that just set him back.The nose on the hub gave a problem, so the wheel didn’t go on properly.”
The pitstop problem ended Pérez’s chances of points leaving him to finish twelfth in the final classification, boosted from fourteenth by a late crash between Charles Leclerc and Brendon Hartley.