Ocon delivers on Merc’s request for better qualifying

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In our season review podcast, we mentioned the Racing Point Force India driver duo and how it was one of the better matched and actually better performing duo on the grid. Both drivers finishing in the points and there or thereabouts with each other.

One thing we did mention was the points and qualifying differences between then and you may (or may not) have been surprised to recall the difference between them in qualifying results.

When you boil their season down, you find Ocon ahead in qualifying 15-5 and a better average race result but Perez had more points. The qualifying was a real reversal from 2017 and Ocon said that was a key area Mercedes, his supporters, wanted to see improvement and he delivered.

“It is my target to win the championship, and we will see how the future evolves, but I guess Mercedes wanted to see that their driver could perform well in qualifying,” Ocon told Autosport.

“In any kind of racing it’s important to start ahead, when we have aero like this it’s very hard to pass.

“It’s a big help and I’m pretty happy with my improvement.

“I think qualifying I have improved the most, how to build up the weekend.

“That’s where I’ve been the strongest this year, I’ve qualified sixth, seventh, eighth many times this season. That’s good, and I’m pretty pleased with that.”

Even more of a shame that Ocon is now without a ride in 2019. He’s delivered on what Mercedes wanted to see, had a better average race finish than his teammate and yet has no ride. That’s not to take anything away from Sergio Perez because I think he had a very difficult season with the lawsuit and sale of the team.

What Ocon’s performance should be is a result worthy of a seat but as it is, it will most likely be a stark reminder to Valtteri Bottas that there is a young man gunning for him and his ride at Mercedes.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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GaryK

Visualizing Valteri Bottas with an Ocon doll and a box of pins.

Aelfwald

Think Toto has had enough of managing two top line drivers in one team. So I think he’d only put Ocon in the Merc if he thinks Ocon isn’t a match for Hamilton (in which case they may as well just stick with Bottas) or if Ocon agrees to play a subservient role to Hamilton, but we’ve already seen at Force India he isn’t a team player so that isn’t likely.