Esteban Ocon has set his sights on delivering Force India’s first podium finish of the year after qualifying third for the Italian Grand Prix.
The Force India driver was fifth in qualifying but will move up two places when the Red Bull drivers take their penalties.
“We knew that there was an opportunity to take in this qualifying session,” said Ocon. “I’ve been growing up with the rain and that’s fantastic to see that in a Formula One car I can still manage to do the good stuff.”
“It’s what the team deserves, after all their hard work, they put so much effort to get those results and now we start third. There is a big thing to get tomorrow which is the podium and we’ll keep pushing.”
Ocon said he believes a top three finish is “definitely” possible in Sunday’s race. “It was a great car to drive, really nice balance.”
Only one of Force India’s cars reached Q3 as Ocon pipped Sergio Perez to the final place by two-thousandths of a second.
“It was very important to be on the right tyres at the right moment,” said Perez. “In Q2 we took the decision to change from wets to inters and I only had two laps to try and make it happen.”
“It was not a perfect lap,” he admitted. “I went a bit too wide at Ascari and I got very close to [Daniel] Ricciardo ahead of me, and that compromised me a little.”
“These small margins were enough to miss out on the top ten. We’ll be moving up on the grid with a few penalties and I hope to make up some more positions tomorrow.”