Esteban Ocon took a bemused view of his Mexican Grand Prix, calling it “the worst race” of his Formula 1 career to date.
The Racing Point Force India F1 Team opted for both Ocon and team-mate Sergio Pérez to qualify on the middle compound brought to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – the ultra-softs – and lacked the requisite pace to reach Qualifying 3, starting eleventh and thirteenth respectively.
The long-game strategy failed to pay off the Frenchman who was forced to pit for a new nose after contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. at Turn 3 on the opening lap, relegating him to the back of the field. The afternoon culminated in Ocon missing out on points by just four seconds.
“This has been probably the worst race of my whole Formula One career so far,” said a frustrated Ocon. “Nothing went our way and it’s just been a terrible afternoon.
“I made a very good start, managed to pass the two Saubers on the run down to Turn 1, but that’s pretty much the only positive to take from today.
I went alongside Carlos in Turn 3 but I saw he was going to turn in,” he continued.
“I braked to avoid a collision, but we still made contact and it broke my front wing. I had to pit at the end of the first lap and my race was effectively over.”
The 22-year-old believed that Force India’s pace would have made the alternate strategy work but expressed his and the team’s eagerness to put the weekend behind them. Pérez failed to finish, retiring on lap 38 with brake failure.
“It’s a shame because we had a good strategy and a fast car, but today was not our day,” he added.
“Let’s just forget about this race and come back stronger in Brazil.”