2017 F1 driver rankings #8: Ocon

2017 F1 season review

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There was very little to choose between Esteban Ocon, in his first full season of Formula One, and his considerably more experienced team mate.

Though Ocon lost out on points he impressed hugely with his consistency and by the second half of the season he was a very close match for Perez on performance – arguably slightly quicker.

Esteban Ocon

Beat team mate in qualifying7/20
Beat team mate in race7/18
Races finished19/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate396/1102
Qualifying margin+0.07

So close was the battle between the pair of them that it got physical on track at times. Both drivers were guilty of not making allowances for the fact they were racing a team mate rather than a rival from another outfit. Nonetheless Ocon made his mark by demonstrating that he wouldn’t be cowed by team’s senior driver.

More often he was able to let his driving do the talking. As the season wore on he became a bigger problem for Perez in qualifying: Having average two-tenths slower than his team mate over the first ten races, Ocon was six-hundredths faster over the remainder. This included an excellent third on the grid at Monza, from where he briefly held second place before drivers from the ‘big three’ teams inevitably thundered past.

This pattern repeated later in the year. For three races in a row Ocon was the first driver home not in a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. He was ‘best of the rest’ four times, matching Perez as the most successful midfield driver in this respect.

Only twice all year did he fail to score points. In Monaco he was quick but crashed in qualifying, leaving him out of the points. By Brazil he had broken the record for most consecutive starts at the beginning of a career (starting from his 2016 spell at Manor), but he was taken out of that race by Romain Grosjean.

He displayed a remarkable knack for taking hits yet carrying on to the points. This happened more than once with his team mate, and again when Felipe Massa and Carlos Sainz Jnr hit him in Malaysia.

Ocon was super-consistent, largely error-free and very fast. If there was one aspect of his game we saw little of it was pure race craft, aside from his cheeky move on Daniel Ricciardo at Suzuka. But he is brimming with potential and the addition of further experience may transform him into a star of the future.

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Over to you

Consistently on par with a more experienced team mate. Very impressed to see how he has been driving taking the most out of his car, taking risks but within an acceptable level most of the time. He has shown more maturity than Perez at times.

What’s your verdict on Esteban Ocon’s 2017 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

2017 F1 season review

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Author information

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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35 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #8: Ocon”

  1. I think it is fair to have Ocon ahead of Hulkenberg – he was so consistent and largely error free, plus he held his own against his experienced teammate – but behind Perez, since in the end Perez did out-qualify him and outscore him, and since @keithcollantine makes this ranking not on potential but on how good it was in actual fact compared to the field.

    For next year, I’d be surprised if Ocon doesn’t handily beat his teammate though, unless Perez really manages to improve somehow; Ocon certainly had him rattled already this year, even if he fought back well in the last races.

    1. Good comment to start off the section @bosyber!

  2. The future of F1. I can’t wait for Ocon and Verstappen to renew their F3 rivalry: they had some absolutely epic battles. And the funny thing is, it really is a bit like Senna and Prost: one is the more naturally talented, slightly wild driver, the other is more calculating, incredibly fast and consistent. Ocon’s run in the points was remarkable for a rookie.

    1. Also Prost and Ocon are both French…
      I am very excited for this battle though, I hope Mercedes sign Ocon for 2019, and Red Bull become as quick again. Also with Leclerc in the Ferrari by that point, and Norris in a hopefully competitive McLaren, the future looks very bright.

    2. @hahostolze After that F3-season, I was actually surprised to see how well Perez fared against Ocon.

      1. @crammond you’re not wrong, but it’s a matter of experience. Look at Verstappen vs Sainz. There’s a gap of quality there, but Sainz having more autosport experience and more F1 experience managed to make it count, for a while. Then Verstappen vs Ricciardo, last season, experience had Ricciardo get the better, now this year it’s clear that Verstappen had an edge. Ocon this year was half-rookie, and yet got this close. Come next season he’ll be ahead of Perez, guaranteed

  3. @keithcollantine: I didn’t understand “By Brazil he had broken the record for most consecutive starts at the beginning of a career” – is there a word missing from this sentence?
    Quite possibly I’m just not reading it right.
    Anyway, good summary for Ocon, a really exciting prospect for the future.

    1. @tribaltalker He means most consecutive finishes from the start of his career. i.e. the longest to go without a DNF, from the moment they started in F1.

      1. @f-wn – Thanks!

  4. when you talk about qualy and race finishes i understand that perez would rank up higher than ocon, but there was something i dont know that puts Ocon above Perez… for example if you asked perez is it a successful season for you i dont think he would say yes but if you asked Ocon he would definitely say yes…

    1. @lozi I know what you mean. But imo what you’re talking about is more to do with expectations than outright performance. I’d say Perez had the better season, but Ocon will be the happier of the two, because he was coming from further back, so to speak. The expectations were lower.

      1. lets not forget that checo is the one who made the team prevent any racing between the both, he was the one under pressure and on a couple of occasions perez let force india lose a lot of points if there was a team competing with force india perez would be ranked down a couple of places.

        1. And you’re obviously very wrong… Ocon was the responsible by promoting the game of who has the biggest ‘nuts’ by putting his teammate into the walls of Baku, and Perez sillily accepted that challenge. Look at the statistics, in every single one of them, the Mexican is ahead of Ocon, even when Perez got all the bad luck and do not finished in the points every time they had contact, which is telling when you see the laps he was ahead of the Frenchman.

          Those DNF’s meant that the points gap for Perez weren’t the representative that should be…

  5. Amazing the two FI drivers, they came together at time, but they pushed each other as well, can’t wait for another season.

    I don’t agree with the rankings though, I would have placed Perez in front of Ocon just by one place, as they are. But I would have placed them higher than Bottas and Alonso.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      14th December 2017, 12:45

      I think Alonso did pretty well this year but I’d probably place them both higher than him as well. Both were clearly better than Bottas but he’s driving a Mercedes so he’ll be top 5.

      Bottas was 10th last year having “destroyed his team mate in qualifying with a thoroughness no one else on the grid could match” but he was in a Williams…

      1. I feel like the start of the ranking was going well, but midway through it the big 3 and Alonso called and bribed Keith.

        F1Fanatic conspiracy theories brought to you by: JohnMilk

        1. @johnmilk What would I do with a bunch of second-hand Honda parts?

          1. There are so many of them, the scrap value alone would likely be worth it

          2. @keithcollantine you can found a team, brand it Acura, say that you will create a revolution in the world of Formula 1 with a completely new approach, tell Alonso it is the only chance he has to be WDC again. Fail spectacularly and blame Honda.

            Now you have Alonso tied in a two year deal, unhappy, let him do the Dakar, he probably won’t finish, but lets face it, he is already used to it. He will be happy, don’t worry.

            Ditch the engine, go back in your plans, buy Ferraris engines, tell people you will be in the front now because you were being held back before. People will tell you that Acura-Mazeratti is an odd name and it sounds like Ferrari-B. We know they are jealous.

            Fail again, sell the team, profit and back to F1Fanatic.

            Need a partner in crime? Let me know

  6. I would swap Checo with Esteban to be honest.

    1. WHY?! Do you even bother to look the statistics?!

  7. Little to choose between Ocon and Perez.
    I’d give the benefit of the doubt to the new kid to the team.

  8. Seriously, Future WDC. Ocon or Perez?

    Its not even a conversation.

    Ocon has to push on now for sure but like RoboMax vs DR, next year will see the new boy flex.

    1. Rankings of the Season. It isn’t rankings of the future, nor rankings of potential

  9. Nice, positions 8 and up upwards are where things really heat up 👍

  10. On race trim he is still slower than Perez.
    Could not help do notice in Monza after all the fastest cars got by, he held Stroll, Massa and then there was a gap of 10 seconds to Pérez.

    And Pérez finished the race glued on Massa’s gearbox.

    This happened at least a couple more times, i can’t remember exactly where now.

  11. Ocon should also be above Perez in my opinion.

    What a fast transition he made this year.

  12. Ocon really has the right stuff. I can only hope that he eventually gets a championship contending seat.

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