Esteban Ocon

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.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Why would Ocon be annoyed at winning the title? Also Ocon beat Max plenty. Max is brilliant we all know that we Don't have to make everything he is done seem god like.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Ocon beat Wherlein home in the race today but only after Manor ordered a shuffled on the road after Wherlein barged him off the road.

Really no love lost there.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
RasputinLives That might be something that will worry Mercedes in the future seeing their two young drivers already mad at each other

Perhaps Pascal is feeling gutted that he feels he should be promoted to Force India and not Ocon
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I Don't think it'll be too much of an issue because I think they'll only promote one of them. Which one is going to be fun to see.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
RasputinLives So far Ocon 's career is looking more promising than Wehrlein . It would be interesting to see who within Mercedes has the final say on whether they go with one because he apparently is the best young German driver around or the other who has already built an impressive junior formula CV
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Every team seems to like Ocon as a team player and he's a bit like Sainz in that they don't make big noises or shout about themselves and let their driving do their talking
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I've suspected it for a while but I think it's clear I'm an Ocon fan. I've not had a driver I officially support over all others in F1 for ages. Oooo maybe I'll go all fan boy!
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
His stock has shot up after today even though he did not beat his teammate..Mercedes will be very happy they said no to Renault who wanted him
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
If Ocon continues to develop and in the second half of the season, out performs Perez, I think Wehrlein's chances of becoming a works Merc driver have gone.
 

Lewywo4

Race Winner
Ocon to me had a very aggressive, but controlled look in his driving yesterday. No doubt a future star in the making!
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Interestingly one could argue Ocon could have been a bit more pushy with Perez and his team but no doubt he is shining . It should be noted that Max Verstappen considers him a rival having been beaten by Ocon in Euro F3
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
cider_and_toast Greenlantern101 Werhlein will always get a chance as long as Toto and the Merc bosses back him.. apart from Spain where he drove intelligently he has had 3 crashes big in 6 months so is he overdriving or just plain accident prone

I see Force India having to replace Perez with Wehrlein unless someone can come up with a lot of money to secure the seat so we will see Ocon vs Wehrlein again
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Ocon, as a member of the Mercedes young drivers program is as well placed as Wehrlein. Toto's patronage may not be that helpful if Pascal is underperforming.
 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Contributor
John Watson said that FI was an ideal team for drivers like Ocon to server their apprenticeships in. They are not so good that points are expected every race but they are good enough for an up and coming racer to show off his talents by scoring a few points when they are available.
 
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