Esteban Ocon has made an underwhelming start to his Renault career – and described the Hungarian Grand Prix as “a weekend to forget”.
The Frenchman’s return to F1 after a year away from the grid was hailed as one of the more intriguing aspects of the 2020 season, but so far he has created barely a ripple.
After finishing a respectable eighth at the opening Austrian Grand Prix, there has been little for Ocon to hang his hat on subsequently with a retirement in the second race at the Red Bull Ring followed by a P14 result in Budapest.
In fairness, Renault as a team, with their other driver being Daniel Ricciardo, have not pulled up too many trees generally – the most newsworthy moments of their campaign so far revolving around their protests against Racing Point amid the ‘copying’ furore.
“It has been a tough weekend from the beginning. We’re not happy with it, of course, and it’s not a great result. We are all disappointed and we can only come back stronger from here.” @OconEsteban
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) July 19, 2020
Ocon told the official Formula 1 website: “It was not a good weekend, to start with. Overall we did not gain anything from the conditions and we did not treat the race right in the end with strategy or anything, so we have to review how we could have done better.
“It is a weekend to forget clearly on our side. [But] one that we are not going to forget for sure, and hopefully that we are going to work on to come back stronger.
“The first pit-stop, stacking early on in the race, made me lose ground, made me lose precious seconds.
“Because the pace is so close between the cars it is just difficult to come back, so from there we were a little bit stuck.
“We have to review it and work hard together to avoid this type of result. The first two races were decent, but there was not enough improvements for this one.”
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul admitted Renault have a lot of work ahead of them despite the positives they were able to draw from the Hungaroring.
He said: “Both cars again showed very decent pace in free air, but the pace delta was not enough to progress further in the order towards the end of the race.
“Esteban is clearly disappointed with his weekend and we will use the time we have before the next triple-headers to look into what we can do to rebound.”