Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Esteban Ocon has told of his relief over taking sixth place just over a week ago in Monaco after a difficult start to the 2018 season.
Before the weekend in the principality, Ocon had been without a points finish since the Bahrain Grand Prix and says that his season “has only truly started now”.
Force India have been continuously progressing following the early correlation issues between on-track and wind tunnel performance with the VJM11; they have clocked up 45 fewer points in comparison to this stage last season. But the Frenchman is confident heading into Montreal.
“I am feeling very happy after Monaco,” Ocon said. “It’s great to finally get a good result after a few difficult races and I feel my season has only truly started now.
“We have taken some good steps forward since the start of the season and I am looking forward to more races like the one we had in Monaco.”
Echoing team-mate Sergio Pérez‘s thoughts on Montreal, Ocon hailed the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve‘s “great” atmosphere. On his first visit to Canada’s second-most populous town the 21-year-old took sixth place, although he was subject to the race’s biggest flashpoint. Despite Force India ordering Pérez to move to one side in order to give Ocon a chance of attacking third placed man Daniel Ricciardo, the Mexican refused to yield.
“The Montreal circuit is definitely one of my favourite tracks and it’s a fantastic event,” he added.
“The atmosphere in the city is great: the whole of Montreal becomes a giant motorsport festival. You feel the energy and excitement everywhere in the city.”
However, disregarding the inter-team attrition, Ocon called last year’s event a “really good weekend” for the team, hoping for the same pace this year.
“Last year we had a really good weekend in Montreal, fighting with the Ferraris and coming away with a good result,” he reflected.
“We seem to do well on tracks like this so hopefully we can continue to score points and keep our momentum going.”
Again, like Pérez, Ocon made to sure to talk about the “tricky” final chicane and the ‘Wall of Champions’. The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport junior said that the circuit suits his driving style and a repeat of last year’s sixth place will help boost him towards the top ten in the Drivers’ standings.
“I always say I like chicanes and that’s almost all you have in Montreal,” he said.
“It’s a challenging and very technical track and I really enjoy driving on it. My favourite corner is the final chicane, with the Wall of Champions so close to you. It’s a very tricky corner and it’s very easy to get it wrong.”