Esteban Ocon, Renault, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Ocon says first race stint was “the strongest of my season so far”

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Esteban Ocon was encouraged by his opening stint of the Russian Grand Prix, which he described as his best performance of the season to date.

However the Renault driver admitted he found the second stint more difficult, after letting team mate Daniel Ricciardo overtake him.

“The first part of the race I could really see it was probably the strongest of my season so far,” said Ocon. “I had a good start and the pace was very, very strong in that soft stint. Very comparable to Daniel except that I managed to keep the tyres a bit more alive for a couple more laps, which definitely felt nice.”

Ocon was ahead of Ricciardo after the pair pitted, but let his team mate through on lap 25. He went on to finish seventh.

“Unfortunately, after the stop with the hard tyres, it was a bit more difficult. So we still have a few things to review on that.

“So there was potentially a few more points on the table on my side possible today. But we’re getting there. It’s quite good signs that we had such a good pace in the first stint.

“Obviously it doesn’t feel fantastic because of that second stint. But it’s still a good, decent result for the team because we are catching on the third place in the constructors.”

Following a patchy start to the season, Renault have made encouraging progress with their car in recent races, said Ocon.

“At the moment we’ve had a good understanding, I think, the last couple of races how we set up the kind and where we could improve. We have also a few small upgrades which helped on our performance.

“I think if we [went] back to Budapest and Barcelona, I’m not saying we would qualify fifth or something, but I think things would have been different. As simple as that, I think we we can extract more performance from the car now with the understanding we have.”

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22 comments on “Ocon says first race stint was “the strongest of my season so far””

  1. Too bad a race has a second half. Pretty disappointing performance so far from Ocon this year. Maybe the second half is his season by the same logic.

    1. Yes, he does not quite deliver what I expected (yet?). No idea what to expect from Alonso (still) but he’ll be more on RICs level, so Ocon really needs to step it up

  2. I’ve been left rather underwhelmed by Ocon so far this year. I felt sure that he’d be an upgrade on Hulkenberg (having advocated him taking Bottas’ seat at one point), but he hasn’t compared well to Ricciardo at all. He seems to be closing the gap slowly and settling in a little more, so we’ll see. Luckily, the pressure isn’t huge as the car is still a whisper from being podium-competitive, so quietly collecting points is fine for this year. Fingers crossed he can step his game up a little more through the second half of the year.

    1. I’ve been underwhelmed too. I’m not sure I thought he’d be better than Hulkenberg, but he definitely seemed to have pace on Perez in 2018 and mostly need some maturity and experience. I expected him to be a slow starter and build into the season, given the year off, but that hasn’t seemed to be the case to me, although he does seem to have moderated his racecraft a little, even if prone to some overly dramatic radio chatter.

      I do rate Ricciardo for pure pace – I’m sure Red Bull wished he’d hung around – and thought he’d handily beat Ocon but I expected Ocon to be a little closer to him than he has actually managed.

    2. I do think @ben-n that the season away from F1 was clearly detrimental to Ocon.

      Now, that would be interesting with Alonso for next year too, except that he’s much more experienced, and, well, Alonso! But more general, maybe people saying, for example about Vettel before the AM move was public, that he should rather take a sabattical than sit in a bad car, have it wrong for F1 as it currently is?!

    3. I think he feels it was his best stint because he luckily got past Ricciardo (after he was passed by Perez) and kept ahead, even though Ricciardo was faster than him. Not much to be impressed about. Ricciardo is dominating him.

  3. Ocon, please don’t lie. You had a 4s gap to Perez when he passed Ric on Lap 14, this 4s gap was reduced to 1s by Perez in the next 3 laps.

    Because you couldn’t keep a gap of at least 3s to Perez, Renault was forced to pit you to prevent an undercut from Perez.

    The highlight of your race is you taking P4 from Ric, other than that, pretty lackluster.

    1. dont forget he COULDNT pass a Ferrari and lets daniel past and daniel has no issue passing the ferrari….

  4. Better than Albon at least. Albon was only a lap away from being lapped during the Russian GP.

    1. I’ve said this so many times, but to me it makes absolute sense for Red Bull to take on Sergio Perez in 2021. Give Albon and Gasly time to bed in at Alpha Tauri, let the pressure settle, let them get used to it all and then we can start talking about whether they’re good enough. Being constantly compared to Max Verstappen in a car which clearly doesn’t suit him (Albon) is doing no good at all for anyone. In reality, he’s now performing at a level equal or worse to Gasly last year, which was “relegation form”. It’s no problem this year because they will finish 2nd in the WCC regardless.

      Next year, put in a proven entity to complement (if not beat) Verstappen. Let Perez collect good points, podiums and maybe a win or two and see which of Albon and Gasly looks the best bet for the near future.

        1. Absolutely agree. Given the current drivers’ market, Perez is the best choice for RedBull. The team an experienced driver to put pressure on Max and provide very valuable feedback as Perez is well known to provide.

      1. It makes far too much sense, doesn’t it? Red Bull need to know when it isn’t working, and now’s that time. Get someone experienced in there on a 1 year deal who’ll hugely appreciate the chance to drive a race winning car. Take the pressure off the kids and let them duke it out in the sister team. Red Bull need 2 drivers up the front, not someone incapable of qualifying. It’s becoming rather frustrating to watch. I appreciate they’re trying to learn from the way they treated Gasly by doing everything they can to protect Albon, but it’s clear for all to see. They need to take action for next season to protect their young drivers.

      2. @ben-n But then again, is Perez really going to perform as well as you seem to expect? It’s obviously not a very definitive comparison, but looking at how Perez compared to Ocon in qualifying, versus how Ocon compared to Ricciardo, versus how Ricciardo compared to Verstappen, I wouldn’t expect Perez to even get within 0.5-0.7s of Verstappen in qualifying. Which will once again leave Red Bull with the problem of having Verstappen isolated at the front with the Mercedes. I think Red Bull should stick with Albon for now, and if there is no improvement next season, replace him with Gasly once more. But one of their priorities now should be having a look into their driver academy and why they seem to have fallen behind the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and even Renault in this regard. Red Bull haven’t picked up a single outstanding talent since Verstappen, which was over 6 years ago, while Ferrari has had Leclerc, Illot, Shawartzman, Giovinazzi, Schumacher etc. who have all done exceptionally well in junior categories.

        1. Perez is a great driver, you are using selective data to suit your oppinion. He is much better than you picture him in your mind, maybe one day you will ger over it and revisit Perez’ career and make a more correct ‘opinion’ of him.

  5. 1st stint? omg this dude is grasping at straws,,,,

    1. Will be interesting to see how Alonso does next year and if Esteban he gets re-branded S. Van Ocon.
      He would be easier to accommodate and cheer for if he had even a slight bit of interest in being a team player.

  6. I have an opinion
    30th September 2020, 11:03

    Compared to Ocon, Ricciardo struggled on his softs (which had only done 1 fast lap in Q2), yet sailed away on his mediums.

    I fear that Pirelli cannot manufacture consistent tyres. I think Hamilton has mentioned variability between sets of the same compound, even though there is presumed to be a secret embargo on drivers criticising this company.

    1. Struggled on his sifts because he was stuck in dirty air of slow ocon.

      1. And I always thought that slow team-mates were supposed to let faster team-mates pass and get on with it.

    2. If we assume Ocon is actually telling the truth, then my gut reaction was that either his car setup or driving style was a better setup for qualifing and the soft tyre and Ricciardo’s a better setup for the hard and long run pace.

      There is an interesting article on the f1 website about Ricciardo’s speed increase after his penalty, I think this was the difference between Dan and Max; Max drove with that attitude always, where as Dan only switched it on sometimes.

  7. Alonso is going make an F2 driver out of Ocon!

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