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MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Aston Martin F1 Team, Mick Schumacher of Germany and Haas F1 and Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 talk back stage ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami Opening Party at Hard Rock Stadium on May 04, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Esteban Ocon: The Forgotten Winner Of Miami?

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After Esteban Ocon could not participate in Qualifying due to a 51G impact at turn 14 during FP3, the Frenchman’s hopes of scoring points in Miami were noticeably diminished.

Then came the surprise in the race. He started from the back of the grid on the hard compound tyres. He crossed the finish line in 9th place.

Image Credit: Jared C. Tilton via Getty Images

Significantly the physical aspects compromised his race, Ocon said:

“There was clearly a mountain to climb for all of us, but I think from the strategy to the radio calls, the tyre management, everything was perfect today. And to end up in the points being 50% physically as well, for me it’s like a win.

“It is a different challenge for sure, it can go wrong, it can go right. Today it went right. But it’s not very enjoyable as I said to race being 50% physically. It’s as hard as Singapore here in terms of humidity and heat.”

What hurt him most: “The knees mainly, lower back, little bit of bruises here and there on the heels. It was 51 G, so pretty painful.”

Ocon’s luck in the race

He slipped up two places even before the start as both Aston Martins had to start from the pitlane. His first stint on the hard tyres paid off as he switched to the soft tyres under a late safety car.

This gamble with strategy promoted him to the front of the field, and Ocon thanked his team:

“I have to say a big thank you to the boys, because everything was broken in the car yesterday. I just checked this morning. The seat is in pieces. The pedal box is completely broken, the throttle, the brakes, it’s broken, and the chassis, obviously.

“We wanted to go very long with the hards, we wanted to get this tyre to last long, so I was managing quite a bit at the start.

“It was harder than expected, I thought the tyre was never going to switch on to be fair, but it did, so that was good. We were not very fast at the start, and then the pace increased slowly, slowly, and we became very quick in comparison to the other cars.”

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Having been in the middle of the action in the incident between Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, Ocon could capitalise on the incident. He described his view of things after speaking to Schumacher:

“Obviously we were fighting all three together, there were big tyre deltas, Mick was on a 30 lap old tyre, Seb was like nine, I was on a newer set of softs, so we were all fighting very closely. Obviously these things happen, not my topic to comment.

“We discussed it, but Mick knows well what he has to do, he is an F1 driver, he has a lot of talent, he doesn’t need my advice at all.”

Criticism of the track

Ocon further described the problem by finding fault with the tarmac of the new circuit:

“We heard before coming here that these stones from Georgia they are the best in the world, it’s one of the best tarmacs in the world. It’s a disaster, we cannot overtake.

“Mick touched with Seb partly because of that, because you cannot do a dive on the inside of anybody, and when you go offline you lose half a second.

“There was only one line, it’s not working at all. We should go to a tarmac like Jeddah, I think this is perfect.”

Overall, however, the Frenchman was pleased with the race result, saying: “I am delighted, I think it is a victory for us.

Ocon’s other good fortune was teammate Alonso’s bad luck. The Spaniard crossed the finish line in 8th place but slipped to 11th outside the points after a penalty.

For Esteban Ocon, this weekend was a complete success. Whether he can continue this lucky streak, we will learn in Spain in less than two weeks.

Feature Image Credit: Dan Istitene via Getty Images

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