‘I thought Valtteri hit me but Daniel apologised’

Date published: November 26 2020 - Finley Crebolder

Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo

Esteban Ocon’s start at the Turkish Grand Prix was ruined by his team-mate, but he didn’t realise it until the Aussie apologised.

The Frenchman made an excellent start in Istanbul Park and was sitting in P3 by the time he reached the first corner. However, he quickly dropped down the order when he spun after being clipped by the other Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo was forced to turn towards his team-mate to avoid hitting Valtteri Bottas, who was on his inside. In the immediate aftermath, Ocon thought it was the Finn – who hit him later in the lap – that had sent him spinning.

“Daniel came and apologised. I didn’t know it was Daniel actually who touched me,” said Ocon.

“I thought it was Valtteri who touched me twice because the way I spun I saw Valtteri spinning as well in Turn One and then later in the lap Valtteri touched me again and we both spun.

“So I thought it was twice Valtteri who touched me. But then Daniel obviously apologised.

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While it was Ricciardo to make contact with Ocon, the Frenchman doesn’t blame his team-mate for the incident, saying that neither of them could go anywhere else without hitting another car.

“He had nowhere to go, it was clear that it was not his fault. It was just the wrong place at the wrong time,” he added.

“Basically we were all sandwiched, pretty much. I couldn’t go wide because I was going to go out and they were all stuck on the inside.

“It was the best [start] that I had all season. I felt comfortable as well with the car later on in the race. So it is a bit disappointing.

“Recently it hasn’t been the easiest, it didn’t go my way each time. But we will turn that around and make it happen.”

It’s been a disappointing return to the grid for Ocon after a year out. He trails Ricciardo by a large margin and has a losing record to the Aussie on both Saturdays and Sundays.

With Fernando Alonso joining the team next season, things aren’t going to get any easier for him.

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