Esteban Ocon will have his big comeback in Formula 1 to look forward to at Renault F1, eventually…
After a season of inactivity (and even more, with this year’s confinement), the former Force India/Racing Point driver will be up against Daniel Ricciardo.
He is one of the references on the grid who is often considered – probably rightly so – as a driver capable of winning the world championship, but perhaps hasn’t quite had the car to consistently challenge the continued domination of Mercedes F1 in this hybrid era.
The duels with your team-mate Daniel Ricciardo look set to be tough, and when asked by French news outlet Le Mag Sport Auto as to how Ocon thinks he compares to Ricciardo, the youngster had much praise for the Australian driver.
“I don’t know yet, it’s a bit early to see all that. It’s clear that at practice [the winter test in Barcelona] it was quite close between him and me.
“But it’s a great chance for me to work with a guy like him. He’s won races, he’s done poles. I’ll be able to measure myself against one of the best and see where I can improve at the beginning.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to move up in the future…”
A humble comment from the youngster, who knows he will be up against the fastest team-mate he has encountered in his short career. Daniel Ricciardo has already won 7 Grand-Prix races, 3 pole positions and 13 best laps. For 29 podiums. He was also 3rd in the championship in 2014 and 2016.
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Interestingly, Ocon reveals who he’s found the toughest to compete against on track during his short career thus far. One might be forgiven to think the answer being most likely former team mate Sergio Perez, their on-track encounters rather famously became rather too physical at times during their time together at Force India.
But actually it was Fernando Alonso.
“In 2017 we had quite a few battles together, he’s an impressive driver in the overtaking moves, the decisions that have to be made at the time.
“He’s really clean to race against, and to switch with him on the track, which is always tough but fair play. It’s very nice to fight with him and it’s a shame he’s gone.”