‘Ocon must learn playing team game is not weak’

Michelle Foster
Esteban Ocon has revealed that being more in synch with the Renault team during races is helping him maintain steady progress this season.

Esteban Ocon has revealed that being more in synch with the Renault team during races is helping him maintain steady progress this season.

Holding up Daniel Ricciardo at the Styrian GP, Martin Brundle says Esteban Ocon must learn that working as a team is “not a weakness”.

Partnering Sergio Perez during his two seasons with Force India, now known as Racing Point, Ocon often clashed with his team-mate.

Both drivers carried responsibility at different stages.

Their 2018 Singapore Grand Prix crash led to the team banning the two from racing one another as Force India was once again denied a strong points finish.

Ocon was dropped by the team at the end of the 2018 season, let go in favour of signing new owner Lawrence Stroll’s son, Lance.

Two years later he is back on the grid, this time with Renault.

Different team, different team-mate but it was almost the same story at the Styrian Grand Prix.

Although Ricciardo was on better tyres and clearly faster than his team-mate in the opening stint of the grand prix, Ocon refused to move over for the Aussie.

Ricciardo tried to pass but had to back off as Ocon fought back, eventually making a move that stuck two laps later into Turn 4.

Brundle wrote in his latest Sky F1 column: “Renault faced the situation where the McLaren-bound Ricciardo really should have been eased by his team-mate, Ocon.

“Esteban is an impressive fighter, but as with his days at Force India he must realise that working as a team is not a weakness, and certainly a maturity the big teams look for.

“They were holding each other up in what will likely be a season-long scrap with McLaren and Racing Point.”

Ricciardo was asked by Motorsport.com about his team-mate’s antics after he urged Renault to tell Ocon to let him through.

Ricciardo told that team that he was clearly the quicker of the two but Renault did nothing about it at the time.

The Aussie, who is off to McLaren next season, reckons it was only a matter of time before Renault did issue an order in his favour.

“I asked a bit of a general question,” he said.

“As I was, I felt, being held up by by that group. So I just said, ‘Look, guys, I’m quite a bit quicker at the moment.’ So I guess that’s, it’s really me asking the question. ‘Okay, are we going to swap?’

“Obviously, we were on different strategies. I was on the medium and Esteban was on the soft, so I think typically early in the race I don’t think it’s that wise to fight and lose time, especially on on a split strategy.

“So I asked the question, and then I got past, but I believe the call was coming. If it wasn’t that lap, it was going to come. So it was being discussed on pit wall.

“I think obviously they could see we were both losing time trying to fight each other. So it was certainly being addressed.”

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