Esteban Ocon

RasputinLives

So Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Contributor
At the start of the 2016 season the two drivers I considered deserved to be on the grid most that weren't there were Stoffel Vandorne and Esteban Ocon. I'm very happy to say that both have now got their shot. At just twenty years of age Ocon certainly has the pedigree and the time to become one of the best in the sport and hopefully now has a shot in the Manor to show that potential. Ocon was the European F3 champion in 2014 and the GP3 champion in 2015 beating fairly strong opposition along the way to do so, most noticeably Max Verstappen. In both of his championship years he was face with opposition that was in better form than him and who had their machinery hooked up better than him, How did he do it? Well consistency was the name of the game.

In GP3 in 2015 Luca Ghiotto was in the form of his life and had his Trident car hooked up perfect but when the points were counted up it was Ocon that was champion. Despite being faced with such strong opposition Ocon kept himself in the running with an incredible ten 2nd places in a row (Both feature race and sprint race). He actually only scored one win all season (he did have two others that he was DQ'd for). Consistency like that is not be sniffed at. It was a similar story in F3 in 2015. By the time the now legendary Max Verstappen had got his car set up and his eye in Ocon had scored so many points he was uncatchable.

So does consistency mean caution? Well I'm sure Esteban would be the first to agree he is more Prost than Senna and most likely does not have the flare of Verstappen and Hamilton, however this does not mean he isn't feisty. His first corner collision with Verstappen in F3 certainly showed he isn't afraid to fight for his position and he was exceptionally good at fighting back through the field in the GP3 sprint races.

Ocon became part of the Mercedes young driver program last year after stupidly being dropped by Enstone (then Lotus) as other less worthy young drivers brought the team more money. This has meant he has been well supported in his bid to be in F1 and why he has landed his Manor drive. He is now being put up directly against Mercedes other young driver Pascal Wehrlein. From whats been said in the media there is not a lot of love lost between the two and I'm really looking forward to see how it pans out between them. Overall, in my view, I think Ocon is the better driver but we've seen many a good reputation not come to the top when it comes to F1. Wehrlein certainly has the head start with having done over half a season of races already and I fully expect him to be quicker in quali than Ocon for most of the rest of the season. I think it will probably make Wehrlein raise his game which can only be a good thing. My money in the long run though is on Ocon.

Anyways I'm sure we're all going to enjoy watching how Ocon gets on and I think we can all rejoice that a driver who actually has earned a place on the grid has been brought in rather than someone with a big ban balance.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
I've yet to be convinced by Wehrlein and he was not blowing Haryanto off like his reputation says he should. Its interesting that up against Ocon he's already upped his pace. However we never saw them race head to head as Wehrlein ran into the back of Button

The battle will be fascinating because it seems like they know they will be fighting for the same seat and positions at Mercedes
 

RasputinLives

So Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Contributor
Ocon really showed his class in Brazil. Felt a bit heartbroken for him when he was caught and past by those that had changed tyres at the end.

Interesting to see him keep pace when his team mate slipped back down the field from a similar position.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
That was a class performance from Ocon in the wet and probably would have been the icing on the cake to stick it to his teammate that Force India made the right choice to sign him had he finished in the points
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Thought his fight with Verstappen was very tough given the circumstances, and a harbinger of the future.
 

F1Brits_90

Race Winner
Quite ironic the brazilian gp happened when it did because we were speculating why force India took ocon & he gave us answers in spades, as it was verstappen like because whereas weirlein dropped like a stone ocon was quite competitive closing on nasr for 9th until if i remember right alonso overtook lost 10th place in the closing laps
 
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RasputinLives

So Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Contributor
Both Alonso and Bottas had come in for fresh boots and Ocon had been on his from start so he didn't stand a chance. Given a couple more laps they'd have got Nasr too.

(Edit. They would back changed his tyres at the stoppage so not quite whole race. considerable amount of time though)

Ocon has always had quality potential and I'm looking forward to seeing him in Force India. He was certainly more than Verstappens equal in F3 so looking forward to seeing if that translates in F1.
 
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Il_leone

Champion Elect
Ocon's potential could spell curtains for Perez next season given Sergio is trying to hold out for a Ferrari drive which he still might get through his sponsors.

Not expecting Force India to suddenly win races but if the car is good as previous years then he is more than capable of creating some shock results against the big boys
 

MartijnK

Test Driver
Ocon beat Verstappen in one of the junior championship they competed which irks Max still
Ha! I think Esteban is more annoyed with Max than vice versa. :)

Both Max and Esteban were F3 rookies in 2014, but Esteban already had 2 years of single seater experience in Formula Renault 2.0 compared to some single seater winter races over for Max. Plus, Esteban drove for the Prema Power team, which is the best team in European F3. Max drove with Van Amersfoort racing, a midfield team.

From halfway the season Max started beating Esteban pretty strongly with Max winning 6 races in a row.

Don't get me wrong, I think Ocon is fully deserving of his F1 seat and I think he's a great driver. But when he went head to head with Max he mostly lost out.
 
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RasputinLives

So Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Contributor
From halfway the season Max started beating Esteban pretty strongly with Max winning 6 races in a row.
Yeah. I'm afraid that's not true. F3 has a 3 race weekend and Max had a massive purple patch and had two weekends in a row where he won all 3 races. He was amazing and that was where he got the attention of Red Bull. However if you look at the results afterwards Ocon scores more wins than Verstappen (including his own triple). Results are here if you wanna look.

2014 European Formula 3 Championship - Wikipedia

I watched at the time and both were very impressive. I remember thinking Ocon was the more complete driver at the time. Verstappen was very showy with great overtakes and fast laps but lots of incidents. Ocon knew how to get results.

Both were very impressive but let's not rewrite history in Verstappens favour eh?
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Potentially we could see another Senna (Verstappen) vs Prost (Ocon) rivalry

I think Mercedes have big plans for Ocon and I dont think they will quit F1 soon like Bernie thinks
 

MartijnK

Test Driver
Yeah. I'm afraid that's not true. F3 has a 3 race weekend and Max had a massive purple patch and had two weekends in a row where he won all 3 races. He was amazing and that was where he got the attention of Red Bull. However if you look at the results afterwards Ocon scores more wins than Verstappen (including his own triple). Results are here if you wanna look.
...
Both were very impressive but let's not rewrite history in Verstappens favour eh?
After the Norisring (so after Max his 6 wins) there were 15 races left. Max beat Ocon in 9 of those. (Max had 3 retirements in those, Ocon 2).
Before Spa, Max had only managed to outperform Ocon once in a race.

I followed them that season too. :)
 

RasputinLives

So Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Contributor
That's still not pretty strongly. That's 60-40 and doesn't take into account Ocon being happy not to beat Verstappen for the title. I just think your rewriting history a bit in Max's favour. Ocon fully deserved his title that year because he kept his head and out performed Verstappen. Let's remember Max was 2ND with a chance of the title on the last weekend but ended up 3rd in the championship behind Blomvquist.

Also who do you count as having won when Max took Ocon out at the first corner that time? ;)
 

MartijnK

Test Driver
I'm not trying to rewrite history, I think you're reading to much into it.

Ocon had 2 years of experience in single seater and was driving for the best team in European F3. The original post I replied to was how Max was annoyed with Ocon for winning the F3 championship. Max was driving for a midfield team with almost no single seater experience and once he had settled it I'm sure Ocon was the one who was annoyed. LOL

I'm not saying Ocon didn't deserve the F3 title at all, but I do believe he had his single seater experience to thank for that. When they were head to head on track, Ocon mostly lost out.
 
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