Esteban Ocon, Force India, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2017

Ocon believed first podium was within reach

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon says he ‘really believed’ he had an opportunity to take a maiden podium appearance during the Mexican Grand Prix.

Ocon spent the opening 20 laps in third position but ultimately finished fifth after he was passed by both Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel at different stages of the race.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2017
Mexican Grand Prix in pictures
“Yeah, I’m a little bit disappointed but happy at the same time,” says Ocon.

“I was there in P3 for so long. I had a good start and managed to stay out of trouble and gain from the others. I was P3 for so long – I really believed in it! But it was the maximum we could do today and luck was not totally with us with the Virtual Safety Car and Raikkonen.”

Asked if he believed he could have held onto third without the Virtual Safety Car intervention mid race, Ocon believes he would have had an opportunity.

“It would’ve been close, but I think so,” says Ocon. “You cannot predict the future. We did the optimal strategy we could today and there was nothing left.”

Ocon now has his mind set on achieving his first podium appearance before the 2017 season has concluded.

“There are two races to go,” says Ocon. “At the moment, we are doing a very strong job from the team. So if we keep going, I’m sure we’ll get it.”

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 14 comments on “Ocon believed first podium was within reach”

    1. Hulkenberg wasn’t far off either, before his car had problems. It’s a shame for both as it is always nice to see somebody different on the podium

      1. Indeed. Really Renault do have to figure out how to get BOTH cars to the finish!

    2. I believed in it too! Anyway, strong showing from Ocon and excellent consistency. That’s the way to get a top team seat.

    3. Still noteworthy the levels of this championship’s cars: mercedes, ferrari, red bull are, I believe in this order, the absolute top 3 teams, everyone else is B series teams, so much is the performance difference.

      Only a race had a B team driver on the podium, stroll in baku, where ricciardo won starting towards the back, including his problem due to which he had to box really early on, bottas who got 2nd at the last lap after a first lap puncture, vettel who got 4th after a stop and go penalty due to hitting hamilton on purpose on safety car, hamilton 5th due to an additional pit stop cause of headrest, raikkonen retired and anyway in the bottom due to a puncture later on which damaged his car, so in that race every single of the top 6 had problems, but they still managed to take all top 5 spots except 3rd!

      This one was quite close, ocon had a real chance without the VSC which was badly timed for him, maybe could’ve defended from raikkonen, but not from vettel I think, assuming he had any of them right behind later on.

      1. It’s like LMP1 and LMP2.

    4. Ah, yes, and also verstappen retired due to an early race mechanical DNF at baku, without which, leaving the rest unchanged, he’d have won seeing how far back was ricciardo coming from, so indeed 6 out of 6 of the top cars drivers had problems.

      1. No, Massa would have won, Massa was already ahead when Ocon crashed with Perez.

    5. I don’t believe he could’ve held behind the Ferraris, the pace difference is just too great. But a great weekend for Ocon nonetheless!

    6. In hindsight, Force India should have waited for Raikonnen to make his stop rather than reacting to Hulkenberg stopping.

      1. @malleshmagdum Yes. Actually, it was Pérez who pitted first, causing Hülkenberg (and Ocon) to react. They had both cars ahead of Räikkönen, who couldn’t overtake as usual, so they could have covered him with at least one car (I think Pérez should have stayed out much longer). They were unlucky with the virtual safety car, but that’s the usual drawback of pitting early. It’s not the first time this season that the midfield teams simply jump out of the way for the top teams. They’ve been overcut by them many, many times this year.

    7. Rookie of the season no doubt, and honestly Ferrari should be having talks with him already about 2019.

      1. @flatsix I suspect Mercedes will consider him for one of their seats for 2019.

        1. I suspect Mercedes will consider him for the chair of Bottas in 2018

          1. Bottas has already been confirmed for 2018. But another season like this one (or even better!) and he’s a strong candidate for Bottas’ seat. Wherlein must be frustrated.

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