Esteban Ocon felt the Racing Point Force India F1 Team lost an opportunity for a good haul of points in the Singapore Grand Prix after the first lap contact between himself and team-mate Sergio Pérez saw the Frenchman end up in the turn three exit wall.
Ocon had moved to the outside of Pérez as the field funnelled through the opening turns, but the Mexican appeared not to see him, with the two banging wheels that left the Frenchman on a one-way trip into the wall and into immediate retirement.
“It’s a huge disappointment to be out of the race early when we had such strong pace,” reflected Ocon. “The car felt great this weekend and we knew a strong result was possible, but instead we’re leaving Singapore with zero points.
“I am not going to analyse what happened at the start. All I will say is that I got off the line well and I saw an opportunity to go past Sergio. I had good grip on the outside, but then I felt a hit and I was in the wall.”
Ocon revealed to Motorsport.com that Pérez had apologised to him for the incident, but the Frenchman feels it cannot be compared to the high-profile incidents that blighted their campaign in 2017.
“He apologised to me, in the room he said he apologised,” said Ocon, who clashed with Pérez in both the Azerbaijan and Belgian Grand Prix in 2017. “But it’s not because of that that everything’s gone.
“The only thing I look at at the moment is that we come home with no points on a weekend where we should have been both in the points, getting strong results.
“We had the pace for it. And yeah, it’s a terrible situation to be where we are now. That’s all I can say, there’s nothing else to comment about. No, it’s not the same situation as last year, we’ve turned the page from there. And that’s it really.”
At least Ocon can take the positive that the car was strong throughout the weekend in Singapore and it gives him the confidence that they can score good points in the remaining six races of the season, starting with the Russian Grand Prix at the end of the month.
“The only positive from tonight is that we have a strong car and we can be back scoring well in Russia,” he said. “There are still six races remaining to score as many points as we can, so we will turn the page and keep working hard for the next race.”