It was another impeccable performance from Force India’s Esteban Ocon who believes a podium finish would have been achievable in Sunday’s Mexican GP without a VSC period.
The French charger found himself running third behind front runners Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas after a tussle at Turn 1 on the opening lap put both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel out of contention.
Kimi Raikkonen then became Ocon’s main focus, but the Ferrari driver opting for a longer stint coupled with a Virtual Safety Car period allowed the Finn to overcut the Force India.
Ocon was later defenseless against the recovering Vettel, and was forced to relinquish fourth to the German, a result which left the 21-year-old with mixed feelings despite a productive fifth place finish, a performance which equals his best result to date in F1
“I’m a little bit disappointed, but happy at the same time,” said Ocon.
“For a while I believed the podium was possible because I was sitting in third place for so long. I made a great start and then I pushed as hard as I could in the free air.
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“Sadly the Virtual Safety Car gave Kimi an advantage during the pit stops and he was able to overtake us.
“The final few laps of the race with Stroll behind me were not easy. He had fresher tyres and managed to catch me, so I had to give it everything to stay ahead.
“When you work so hard for a result it feels very satisfying so I look forward to celebrating tonight.
“It’s a great day for the team. Fifth place in the race and securing fourth place in the championship is a fantastic achievement after a strong season.”
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