Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, 2016

Gasly explains Ocon rift: “I started to beat him, he didn’t like it”

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly explained why his friendship with Esteban Ocon ended before the pair reached Formula One.

The French pair were karting rivals earlier in their careers but Gasly says the competition between them became too fierce for them to stay friends.

Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Bahrain Grand Prix build-up in pictures
“I started to beat him and he didn’t like it so we’re not friends any more,” Gasly explained in Bahrain.

The pair began to drift apart towards the end of their time in karting, according to Gasly.

“We’ve done so many things together with Esteban. When we were like nine, 10 years old we used to go testing in karting when it was snowing, do five laps then come in because it was so cold. Go out on the track together, trying to get warm and then go back on track for three or four more laps.

“We’ve spent a lot of time together but it got to a point where he got a bit too upset and it wasn’t so nice any more. So we kind of stopped [socialising]. Then after we always [had] quite a lot of rivalry. I think we respect each other as drivers.”

Gasly says the pair do still talk to each other but not about motor sport.

“If we don’t talk about racing it’s fine,” he said. “We can spend time together, we respect each other, it doesn’t go further than that.”

Ocon arrived in Formula One with Manor in 2016 (pictured) while Gasly made his grand prix debut for Toro Rosso last season.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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16 comments on “Gasly explains Ocon rift: “I started to beat him, he didn’t like it””

  1. Ocon’s weak spot.. his temper it seems.
    But let’s hope for nice fights on track and not in the media.

    1. Nothing in what Gasly said indicates that Ocon has a temper

      1. @trublu
        Nothing in what Gasly said indicates that he speaks the absolute truth, for that matter.

    2. And the fact that he’s not that great, i don’t know why people pretend he’s as good as perez let alone better.

      And if we relate, perez > ocon, perez = button, hamilton >> button, so I really dont think ocon is the guy to replace bottas at mercedes if they’re looking for someone stronger to pair him with. Maybe he’ll develop, but right now he isn’t ready, he needs to show he is better than perez and so far he hasn’t.

  2. “I started to beat him, he didn’t like it”

    uuuuh, them fighting words! :D
    but, seriously, as said above, from what we hear, Ocon is one who let’s other drivers beating him get to his head quite easily…

    1. Seems like a similar story as when Max started to beat him in F3. Ocon didn’t handle it very well – stating in several interviews that Max was too aggresive.

      (And yes, Ocon won the season, but Vers had an unreliable car and still managed to win more races than Ocon)

    2. Didn’t he win GP3 with only 1 win the whole year?

    3. Vettel, Hamilton, Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Piquet, … the list of drivers who don’t like being beaten can go on and on!

      I think it’s just another show of what was already mentioned a lot in the relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg – it’s just hard to be friends when you are directly competing against each other. Remember Prost mentioned Senna actually getting friendly with him after his retirement!

  3. Them Frenchies, LOL.

  4. Never let friendship get in the way of a good rivalry!

  5. Plenty of time to be friends in a few years when they are out of F1.

  6. I like Gasly. Ocon seems a bit of a sook

    1. That qualifying in Australia showed that.

  7. I think the entire point of these kinds of statements is to get the words “when I started beating him” in there. It’s typical for a not so highly rated driver to remind everyone that they did beat a highly rated driver. Ocon reminds everyone he’s beaten Max. Di Resta harped on about beating Vettel every week up until he was dumped from F1. Kind of futile if you ask me. What you do when you get to F1 makes all the difference.
    Interesting to see how Ocon always comes across as super competitive when he gets beat. It’s kind of obvious that Perez and him would have problems, especially when you think about how Perez’s competitive side was when he was racing Button. It was just a matter of time before these two drivers went at it.

    1. @todfod

      I think the entire point of these kinds of statements is to get the words “when I started beating him” in there.

      My thoughts exactly.

  8. Agreed with: “What you do when you get to F1 makes all the difference.”

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