Ocon: New delta time rule made things worse

Michelle Foster
Esteban Ocon sits in Renault

Esteban Ocon sits in Renault

Cleared of blocking Kimi Raikkonen in Q1 at Monza, Esteban Ocon reckons Formula 1’s new maximum time rule “made things worse”.

With a tow at Monza worth about half a second per lap there was a bit of chaos in the closing stages of Saturday’s first qualifying segment for the Italian Grand Prix.

Chaos that almost led to Raikkonen rear ending Ocon as the Renault driver tried to keep the Alfa Romeo behind him.

Raikkonen wasn’t impressed with the Frenchman’s antics: “He’s f*cking blocking me all the time this idiot, and on a fast lap.”

The stewards, however, cleared Ocon of any wrongdoing.

“The stewards concluded that what appeared to be erratic movement of cars was due to a combination of circumstances which they, and the two drivers present, agreed was probably unavoidable and was not dangerous,” read the report.

“Car 44 [Hamilton] was leading a line of cars on an out lap – in order, cars six [Latifi], 31 [Ocon] and 7 [Raikkonen], plus others. On the approach to turn 11 [Parabolica], car six slowed (ref telemetry) in order to achieve a reasonable gap to car 44 in front.

“This caused car 31 to have to take avoiding action by moving to the left, which caused car 7 to have to brake and move.”

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Ocon reckons the FIA’s decision to impose a maximum time limit of 1:43 for qualifying caused most of Saturday’s problems.

“We were very much racing for position,” he told Autosport.

“I think the new rule, obviously on the delta that we have to follow for not going too slow, made things worse to be honest than how it was before.

“We need to review, obviously at the next drivers’ meeting, what we can do better.”

He added: “Obviously it was not intended to have these sorts of issues you know, people slowing down for no reason, but we have to make a gap at some point to make the lap.

“And we didn’t have the chance to do that because we can’t slow down. So it made it a bit tricky for everyone, and I think that’s why a lot of cars were racing in the end.

“Nothing really happened but, of course, Kimi started his lap too close to me, so he was trying to pass me. But if that had been the case then both of our laps would have been ruined. Obviously his was, but I still managed to complete mine.”

Both drivers made it into Q2 with Ocon qualifying P12 and Raikkonen P14.

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