Esteban Ocon wants to put himself in a position to fight for podiums of his own after watching team-mate Daniel Ricciardo take two third places in the past three races.
Ocon made his return to Formula 1 at the beginning of 2020 with the Renault DP World F1 Team after a year on the side-lines following his departure from the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team, and he has shown rustiness after more than eighteen months away from racing.
He sits twelfth in the standings after thirteen races, with his best result of the season to date a fifth-place finish in the Belgian Grand Prix. This comes as team-mate Ricciardo has finished on the podium in both the Eifel and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to sit fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Renault as a team sit third in the Constructors’ Championship with four rounds remaining, and Ocon puts that down to the huge effort being put in by everyone at both the Enstone and Viry factories, and he hopes he can play a bigger part in the points scoring in Turkey, the two races in Bahrain and the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“I think, as a team, we wouldn’t be kidding anybody if we said we’d expected to be third in the championship thirteen races into the season,” Ocon said in his official column on Formula1.com. “But that has been down to a really big team effort from everyone executing the races trackside and all the preparation and hard work at Enstone and Viry. I do feel we deserve to be in this position.
“We’ve shown, especially more recently, we are quick at a number of different circuits as well as in varying conditions. We also know our competitors are fast and are not making it easy for us.
“I must say, Daniel has been in incredible form. The feeling in Germany when he got the podium meant a lot to the team and to see everyone with a smile on their faces in Parc Ferme meant a lot.
“It’s no secret that I aim to be up there soon, and I want to make sure I’m contributing my part to the team effort. I know the ability for strong results is there on my side of the garage, but I’ve retired from two of the last three races with technical issues.
“We must finish races and I know, if we do, we can be up there”
Ocon has shown flashes of speed throughout the season but he has often been let down by reliability issues. He has retired from three of the past five Grand Prix having failed to see the end of the Tuscan, Eifel or Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the last two with technical issues.
However, he knows that he can be up at the sharp end if the car reaches the chequered flag.
“We must finish races and I know, if we do, we can be up there. Portugal was a damage limitation race for us as team as we didn’t quite have the pace to break closer to the top five, so to score points was still a good result. I definitely enjoyed my first stint, it just kept going on. I believe I could have finished the race quite comfortably on those set of tyres!
“It’s great to be able to say that we’re third in the championship but, actually, for now, it doesn’t matter so much. It only counts at 7pm on 13 December in Abu Dhabi when the chequered flag comes out. That’s when it matters.”