‘Not normal if Perez is left out but F1 is like that’

Michelle Foster
Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez Sakhir GP

Max Verstappen: Hope Sergio Perez will keep me "on my toes".

Esteban Ocon feels for Sergio Perez with the Sakhir GP winner facing a possible year on the sidelines after being dropped by Racing Point.

Racing Point informed Perez back in September that they were cancelling his contract, paying off the driver in favour of putting Sebastian Vettel in the car next season.

The decision came after many of Formula 1’s top seats had already been filled for next season, leaving Perez with just one big-name option, Red Bull.

But with the team stating several times that they want give Alexander Albon a chance, Perez could spend next season sitting at home despite taking his first-ever F1 win at Sunday’s Sakhir GP.

And that, Ocon says, isn’t right but that’s how sport some times works.

“Yeah, it’s obviously a very tough position to be in,” the Renault driver told the media after the Sakhir race.

“I know well, know how it feels like.

“I’m glad that Sergio is obviously getting the result, you know? To show everybody that he deserves to be in Formula 1.

“He’s one of the top guys out there and he can’t be left outside. There’s no… it would not be normal.

“But sometimes the sport is like that, unfortunately, and you don’t end up in the best situations.”

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Perez has already stated that it is Red Bull or nothing for 2021 but that he does already have options to return to the grid in 2022.

Ocon is well aware of how difficult to make a comeback, getting off to a very slow start when he returned with Renault this year.

His efforts paid off at the Sakhir Grand Prix on Sunday night when he claimed his maiden Formula 1 podium, bringing his RS20 across the line in second place.

“On my side obviously it’s been a tough year but I was in good hands,” he said.

“I had a lot of people believing in me and supporting me, which has helped me to come back after a year out – and yeah, here we are.

“Not easy to get going but after a bit of running, you get there.”

He added: “It’s not been an easy year but you know we’ve seen that progress coming and it didn’t always turn our way in the end and that’s what’s frustrating in a way. So finally we know it came.

“We always believed in ourselves, that’s the most important [thing].

“When you are not performing at the best in this sport it’s something very difficult as you are getting critics, are getting a lot of different things around but the people around you, who are important, they always support you and that has helped me a lot and the team has helped me to keep believing in myself and keep pushing and today we did so, so very pleased with that.”

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