Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez, Force India, Singapore, 2018

2018 team mates battles: Perez vs Ocon at Force India

2018 F1 season review

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Esteban Ocon’s absence from the 2019 F1 field is doubly disappointing: A talent such as his does not deserve to be on the benches, and his enforced departure ends a riveting scrap between him and Sergio Perez.

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The Force India duo came to blows more than once last season, prompting the team to issue strict limits on how hard they could race each other.

While Perez generally had the beating of his team mate last year, Ocon had clearly raised his game in the second half of the season. He carried that into 2018 and noticeably raised his game in qualifying, an improvement he credited to (among other things) changes to his steering wheel.

However he managed it, rare were the Saturdays when Perez had the beating of him. It was a matter of fine margins, however: Ocon’s superiority was usually measured in no more than tenths of a second.

Perez can still teach the youngster a thing or two about racecraft, however. The salient lesson of not getting involved in needless incidents when there are big points in the offing is one, for instance, as Perez demonstrated in Baku with a superb third place. Those 15 points more than made the difference between him and Ocon at the end of the year, the latter having gone out in a needless first-lap tangle with Kimi Raikkonen.

But we can’t discuss needless first-lap tangles without covering Perez’s move on Ocon in Singapore. Whether or not he knew exactly where his team mate was (peripheral vision with the Halo is not great) the fact Ocon was his team mate should have led Perez to take greater caution.

Significantly, Ocon had been creeping up on Perez in the points table until that moment. But his season went off the rails in the final races while he waited for Lance Stroll to boot him out of the team. These were mostly technical in nature, though it was his Brazil clash with Max Verstappen which sticks in the mind. Meanwhile the ever-dependable Perez kept racking up the points.

Having made an obvious step forward in one-lap pace this year, Ocon has now lost his seat to a driver who was out-qualified by a rookie during 2018. Force India has swapped its fastest driver for Williams’s slowest.

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Sergio Perez vs Esteban Ocon: 2018 Force India team mates performance comparison

Season scores

Who was ahead?

The table below shows at which races Perez qualified or finished in front of Ocon:

AUSBAHCHIAZESPAMONCANFRAAUTGBRGERHUNBELITASINRUSJAPUNIMEXBRAABU
Sergio PerezQ
R

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 F1 season review

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 39 comments on “2018 team mates battles: Perez vs Ocon at Force India”

    1. I’m not sure why, but the battle between Perez and Ocon seemed tighter to me this season. I knew Ocon came out on top in terms of both the quali and race head to head, but I have to admit I’m surprised by the margin.

      It just shows that it is a sin that Ocon doesn’t have a seat for 2019.

      1. Indeed. I really miss the days when teams were properly independent and they were able to make the decisions by themselves. Surely Toro Rosso, Renault, McLaren, Haas or Sauber could’ve had use for him, but since he is tied to Mercedes all those potential seats are unreachable for him.

      2. It was tight, some situations skew the results and you have to be careful while reading those.

        In some ocasions that Ocon retires Perez was ahead but those are not counted.

        I also don’t fully agree on the Singapore accident, it was 50-50 to me. Ocon had a clear view ahead and decided to go for a gap that was certainly going to disappear. One of the things he should improve is to not pull heroic overtake during overcrowded situations, such as race starts or SC restarts. He did it to Perez and Kimi

        Another curiosity is that Perez definitely improved after the administration process had finished. If that is because he felt the focus switched only to racing or because Ocon got demotivated due to the Stroll situation no one will know

        1. @johnmilk

          Another curiosity is that Perez definitely improved after the administration process had finished.

          Did he really, though? He still got outqualified 7-2 in the second half of the season and it was only in the final four races where Ocon’s season went off the rails, bad luck and drivers errors being accounted for. Without Ocon’s disqualification in USA, they both would have scored the exact same amount of points in the second half until that race. I don’t think Checo’s performance level changed at all, even though he did claim that the administration process was a distraction for him.

          1. *till that race. Edit button, dammit. :(

          2. The race results improved, at least from the info above

          3. Perez was never that great a qualifier, Ocon is, but at race day Perez his still better then Ocon. And that’s what I think made Mercedes give Bottas another season instead of Ocon getting the promotion, he would be close to Hamilton on Saturday but come Sunday Ocon wold most likely fade just like Bottas did this end of the season he still gets tire management a but wrong and seeing that Mercedes are a tire hungry car (without the magic rims) he would struggle allot.

        2. @johnmilk I disagree that the gap was always almost certainly going to disappear. We have seen cars go side-by-side through Turn 3 in Singapore countless times, and the exit is not a tight one, so Perez doesn’t have any excuse for basically positioning his car in such a manner that Ocon would have to back off completely. Not worthy of a penalty, but one doesn’t do that to their teammate.

          1. You & me both, @mashiat. If you watch the replay of the same race, at the exact moment Perez put Ocon in the wall you can clearly see other cars going through that turn nowhere near as far wide as Perez went, and you can clearly see Perez open the steering as well. It’s pretty much impossible to convince me that wasn’t deliberate. Plus, they were accelerating out of the turn so even if he didn’t see Ocon he should have heard him & known there was a car there.

          2. @mashiat fair point, still feel Ocon could have been more careful that’s all. The situation was similar to others in the past involving him imo

        3. @johnmilk

          Disagree about the Singapore incident. There was enough space for him to complete the move… and I don’t think anyone was buying Perez’s excuse of “I didn’t see him”. He’d have to be blind not to see a car slightly in front of him on the outside of a corner. It was another one of those let’s put the teammate in the wall incidents at Force India if you ask me.

          I think the stats show that if it weren’t for a couple of unfortunate incidents (Ocon’s Baku clash with Kimi, Singapore , etc.) Ocon would have finished best of the rest this season. I thought he was better than Perez this season… despite the point’s tally not being in his favour.

          1. *(Ocon’s Baku clash with Kimi, Singapore , USA disqualification etc.)

          2. Was he evwe in front of Perez? Don’t recall it that way @todfod, I have yo watch it again

            1. First time seeing the incident in that perspective, thanks @todfod
              It does chamges my mind. Perez fault! Don’t think he did it on purpose, but still, poor management of the situation

    2. It looks like Ocon dominated but Perez race pace was at least 0.2sec faster than Ocons.
      Ocon just need stability in first laps and more maturity and with his talents he will outpace Perez.
      Perez with Hulk is the best midfield driver so that is a good margin and that shows a lot how Esteban can make difference in future.

      1. and big problems Ocons was that after first pit stops he couldn’t put maximum from new set of tyres. Perez on older tyers was faster and because of bad qualifying was often stuck behind Ocon.

      2. Points are the only thing that matter. I don’t get why people look at anything else. It’s what gives your team the money for the next year. This finished ahead row is also so biased. DNF means that you were behind…
        Perez outscored Ocon two years in a row and yet Ocon is being always named as the star of the future. I guess the future will be full of pretty average drivers.

        1. I’m pretty sure you thought Trulli was better than Alonso in 2004, Heidfeld was better than Kubica in 2007, Kvyat was better than Ricciardo in 2015.

          Points never tell the entire story.

    3. For a driver who has only turned 22 recently, this is quite an impressive record for Ocon, and with time and experience, I’m certain he will also mature in his decision-making. Take his teammate for example. During his first few years in F1, Perez was not a very clean driver and had his fair share of incidents with World Champions. People were talking about Perez back in 2013 in a similar vein to how they talked about Verstappen now. And now, Perez has become Mr. Reliable in picking up points and is generally quite a clean driver (with the exception of Singapore). But the more interesting question is, could Bottas have beaten Perez 16-5 over a season? I’m not sure he could, to be honest. He did beat Massa 17-4 in 2016, but I rate 2018 Perez more than I rate 2016 Massa, certainly.

      1. All very good points @mashiat

    4. Ocon’s season really unraveled in the last four races, starting from the disqualification in USA. Without that, he would have been just one point behind Perez with 3 races to go.

      I agree that his racecraft needs work. He ruined his own race in Mexico by being too greedy on lap 1 and trying to get alongside Hulkenberg midway through the turn 2 chicane, and the latter closed the door which led to Ocon losing half of his front wing. I think the common pattern with most of his collisions this year and even last year is that he expects too much of a nice treatment from the drivers he is battling with on track, putting his car in dangerous positions and putting all his faith in the other driver. It’s actually not that different from what Daniel does with his divebombs and Max does with his aggressive overtakes, so I guess you can say Ocon has been slightly unlucky at times, but I think if wants to swing that way, he needs to find a thin line similar to the ones Daniel and Max have learned to operate on and make sure he doesn’t overstep it.

      I’m a huge believer in “points before everything else”, so I’ll have to rate Checo’s season better. That being said, there’s absolutely no doubt who was the faster Force India driver this year, and while Ocon is likely still far from his peak, the same can’t be said for Checo.
      Their teammate battle bears similarities to Verstappen vs Ricciardo 2017. The former upped his game from 2016 and was clearly faster than his teammate, and while both suffered from similar reliability (Max arguably slighy more unlucky with respect to the positions he retired from), Daniel somehow ended up scoring more points, thanks to his opportunism and calm-headedness(most notably in Monza).

      If Ocon was improving at a rate similar to Max’s, I think next year, he would have beaten Perez on points as well…perhaps comfortably. We’ll never get to see, though.

    5. (peripheral vision with the Halo is not great)

      How does the halo hurt peripheral vision?

      1. Rear mounting points are on the periphery

        1. @socksolid @pastaman I was just scanning to see if someone mentioned that part of the article, and here you are. Frankly I am shocked to have read that because I don’t believe it. At no time that I am aware of has any driver or commentator mentioned this issue with the halo. Of course I may have missed something (several things) but as far as I knew the only time the drivers even see the halo is when they have to look upwards, like approaching Eau Rouge for example, and even that has not proved to be a problem.

          I would think if the halo provided a peripheral vision issue they wouldn’t have gone with that design or that way of mounting it. As I said above, I had every expectation that this does not hinder their vision whatsoever, and I would like to see some quotes that I had to have missed with respect to this issue because as I said, I don’t believe it. I don’t recall a single driver using that as a reason for a contact or a close call. If peripheral vision was impeded they had ample time to mention that and account for it before it was officially used on the cars. Let’s hear some evidence of this issue. I would think it would have come up many many times with the miriad of close calls and actual contact that has happened over the races since the halo was employed.

          1. There is no real peripheral vision loss with halo. We know this because the halo rear mounting points are on top of the driver head side protection bulges. What is limiting the peripheral vision is the helmet and these side protection bulges which were there even before the halo. I was kinda hoping fia would make those side impact bulges smaller now as the halo now does their job for them but they have not done so. The only loss of peripheral vision from the halo is if you need to look at your side and up like at 40 degrees. If f1 cars were designed to dodge incoming fire from ww2 ground attack planes doing strafing runs on f1 cars then halo for sure would have peripheral vision issues. But in f1 the cars never come side and above (unless you are grosjean).

            And even the center post is almost invisible when driving. And because the center post vanishes because of human stereo vision we have known for a long time that we can put all kinds of antennas in front of the driver and not hurt the vision at all. Look at this f3 car for example and those antennas right in front of the driver’s face: https://d2d0b2rxqzh1q5.cloudfront.net/sv/1.67/dir/65e/image/65e365c8b184abc2e1fd3dfbae1995fb.jpg

            1. Apologies for the suspicious looking link (it is from autosport site). Here is another image:
              https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/11/19/13/Sophia-Floersch3.jpg

    6. Perez is just so good at getting more points even if he’s not really been the better driver, points which are very valuable to the team.

    7. Quite an evenly matched pairing overall apart from the final points.

      1. The final points was literally the part where they were closest matched

    8. Regarding Singapore – Yes, Perez should have left more room but also it was yet another example of Ocon’s lack of awareness on the first lap. Whoever the other driver had been it was always going to be a risky move going for that gap on the first lap, so he must take a portion of the blame.

      I must say in general Ocon did not impress me much. Yes, he had good qualifying pace but often it was by only a tiny margin over Perez, who has never been known for his qualifying anyway. Ocon didn’t have a single performance this year or last which made me sit up a nd think ‘wow, he’s good’. Was usually slower than Perez in the races too, and certainly a much less canny racer than his teammate.

    9. The 16-5 qualifying result belies the fact that the two were the closest matched team mates on the grid in terms of qualifying results. To me,, they have been pretty much equal.

    10. The salient lesson of not getting involved in needless incidents when there are big points in the offing is one, for instance, as Perez demonstrated in Baku with a superb third place.

      *record needle scratching*

      Wait a second … Baku? The very race that saw Pérez get involved in a first-lap incident that damaged his car and forced him to make an early pit stop that basically dropped him to the end of the field? That Baku?

      The way the last two races at Baku went, I don’t think there’s any kind of lesson you can derive from them (other than “be lucky with your crashes”, or “make your mistakes early in the race, later on they won’t be anulled by the Safety Car anymore”, or “even if you drive a terrible race, chances are you’ll be greatly rewarded at the end”).

      My rule of thumb is “If your point hinges on Baku, it might not be a point worth making”.
      (Okay, not really, I made that up on the spot.)

      But still, I don’t think there was a worse way to illustrate a point that might be somewhat valid.

      1. You know what people usually called a driver who has accident early in the race that they dropped to the back of the field then finished in podium? Superb driving.

        1. Especially with a car NOT FIT to be on the podium with 2 ferraris and a mercedes who survived.

        2. @sonicslv
          1. That’s not the point. The point made here is that Ocon should’ve been more like Pérez by avoiding first-lap incidents. Example: Baku, where Pérez was, you’ve guessed it, involved in a freakin’ first-lap incident (for crying out loud)

        3. @sonicslv
          2. Absolutely no one on the podium has shown any kind of superb driving in any sense of the word, other than “they didn’t make their mistakes during a stage of the race that wasn’t, for all intents and purposes, reset by a Safety Car”.
          Hamilton had a relatively bad race (after a bad lockup that forced him to make an early pit stop, third was the best he could’ve managed on his own) and won. Räikkönen was involved in (and equally to blame for) the first-lap incident that ended Ocon’s race, had to head for the pits for cosmetic surgery and was pathetically slow throughout the entire race (if you take a look at the lap times graph, that red line that always stays above the somewhat darker red line and the two grey lines for the entire duration of the race, and I’m not even exaggerating, i.e. the slowest of the Ferraris and Mercedes in every single lap of the race, yep, that’s Räikkönen. He finished second by virtue of “this doesn’t make any sense”.
          Now, I’m not saying that Pérez drove a similarly underwhelming race. An anonymous one, rather. It’s just that I fail to see anything particularly compelling in his race that correlated with him finishing on the podium. It was a typical Baku race, where the results are largely inconsequential, save for the fact that they count just as much as any other race.

          Ocon was involved in an avoidable first-lap collision that damaged his car, his race ended there. Räikkönen damaged his car in the very same avoidable first-lap collision, he scored his best result in almost a year. Pérez was involved in an avoidable first-lap collision that damaged his car, he scored his best result in almost a year.
          Moral of the story: Sometimes it doesn’t really matter what you do. Just don’t be unlucky, okay?

    11. Jose Velderrain
      24th December 2018, 6:39

      Fastest lap per race

      Race . Per Oco Dif
      Aus. 1:27.633 1:27.600 0.033 O
      Bah. 1:35.075 1:35.043 0.032 O
      Chi. 1:37.673 1:37.985 0.312 P
      Bak 1:46.206 NA
      SPN. 1:21.128 1:22.117 0.989 P
      MON. 1:17.546 1:17.027 0.519 O
      CAN 1:15.100 1:15.610 0.510 P
      FRN . 1:38.319 Na
      Aus . 1:08.504 1:08.850 0.346 P
      Bri. 1:33.472 1:33.606 0.134 P
      Ger . 1:17.867 1:17.941 0.074 P
      Hun. 1:23.263 1:22.876 0.387 O
      Bel. 1:48.080 1:48.078 0.002 O
      Ita . 1:23.529 1:24.179 0.650 P
      Sin . 1:45.289 NA
      Rus. 1:38.300 1:38.366 0.066 P
      Jap. 1:34.073 1:34.670 0.597 P
      Us . 1:39.569 1:39.992 0.423 P
      MEX 1:23.544 1:22.629 0.915 O
      Bra. 1:12.472 1:12.352 0.120 O
      Abu 1:42.816 1:43.591 0.775 P

      Per 11 – 7 Oco

      On average, gaps bigger when Perez fastest, and shorter when Ocon fastest

    12. Ocon was told by mercedes to improve qualifying in 2018, he focus on that sacrifice to the race, Perez went the other way.

      Points are given Sunday indeed, but Ocon made every mistake in the book and crash overdriving most of the races, two seasons and couldn’t get close enough to Perez, let alone zero podiums, at his age Perez had 3 already…

      Ocon don’t have a drive cause simply is not good enough, but highly overrated in my opinion.

      Perez beat Button in qualifying, who has beat Hamilton, only best cars performance is not as a compromise for qualifying/race set up

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