F1 newcomer Esteban Ocon admitted that his first qualifying proved to be a challenging session because of the lack of experience. He is looking forward to today's race though, he is especially keen on experiencing the preparation work for the race.
Esteban Ocon made a sudden debut at Spa this weekend after Manor driver Rio Haryanto was demoted to test driver in F1’s summer break. The Frenchman, who is backed by Mercedes and raced for the German marque in DTM, has completed several practice sessions for Renault F1 Team this year.
Despite to the intensive racing programme over the last period of time, the former GP3 and F3 champion conceded that the torrid action in F1 with all its preparation and off track activities made it hard for him to extract the best out of himself and the car in his debut qualifying session.
“Pretty tough, I have to say. I’ve been pretty happy with my pace generally but it’s not easy to start your F1 career more than halfway through the season. I need more time in the car and with the Supersoft tyre and even managing the traffic; that’s quite a challenge too with all the cars slowing down after their laps. It takes more experience than I have in three practice sessions to really extract the maximum out of everything.”
The 19-year-old can’t wait for the lights to go out in the race and he builds his confidence on the long run simulations on mediums and softs.
“Tomorrow I will be the happiest guy on the grid. It’s my first race and I can’t wait for the whole experience of preparing for the race, the grid, lights out, pit stops - everything. Again, the race will bring its own challenges, as it’s my first one, but I’m really happy with the work we’ve done in practice,” cheered the Frenchman.
“I’m happy on the Medium and Soft tyre, and with the long run pace, so I’m just going to stay focused on the goal, which is to have a strong clean race, get a good result for the team, learn a lot and have fun with it too,” added Ocon.