The young Force India ace Esteban Ocon targeting a podium finish in tomorrow’s race at Italy. The French speedy made strong qualifying result which sees he line up third alongside Valtteri Bottas on the second row.
This is Ocon’s first full season in F1 but he has more than proved his potential, not least by competing so quickly against the more experienced Force India team-mate Sergio Perez.
Ocon originally set fifth on the grid, lifted two places following penalties for Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, meaning he will line up directly behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.
“For sure, it’s amazing. That’s what the team deserves,” Ocon told NBCSN after qualifying.
“They work so hard on every aspect. To get the second row is something amazing. The car was brilliant, I managed to push it to the limits. I want my podium!”
When asked if a podium was possible, Ocon said: “Yes, definitely. We adjusted the car, we’ll work on the car like we did on Friday.
“We have a big opportunity ahead and we have to get it.”
Sergio Perez qualifying 11th and missing out on a Q3 spot by just 0.002 seconds – he is also received the benefits of Red Bull duo grid penalty and will start from ninth, the Mexican blamed with minor errors and difficult wet-conditions for his position.
“In Q2, we took the decision to change from wets to inters and I only had two laps to try and make it happen. In the end, I missed out by two thousandths; it’s not ideal, but it was the best we could do today.,” Perez said.
“It was not a perfect lap – I went a bit too wide at Ascari and I got very close to Ricciardo ahead of me, and that compromised me a little. These small margins were enough to miss out on the top ten.
“We’ll be moving up on the grid with a few penalties and I hope to make up some more positions tomorrow.”