Esteban Ocon believes that Alpine’s seven-point lead over McLaren in the battle for position four in the constructors’ standings is not a comfortable advantage for Alpine to have heading into the race in Sao Paulo.
At the fan-favorite Interlagos track in Brazil, which holds the year’s final Sprint race as well as the penultimate Grand Prix, Alpine and McLaren will continue their battle for the coveted fourth place in the rankings. This year, Alpine is in a better position, although only slightly so.
When Ocon was asked if he could relax ahead of their trip to Brazil, he responded, “No, not at all.” It has been a very long season, and a lot has taken place, but there is no time to kick back and relax [until] the checkered flag is waved in Abu Dhabi. It is going to be a close race right up until the very end, of course.
“McLaren was a speed demon in Mexico. They tend to come and go quickly throughout the course of the year; we’ve had our ups and downs as well, but hopefully, yes, this weekend will be an up.”
The Frenchman, who will be joined in the 2019 season by fellow countryman Pierre Gasly, stated that Alpine had performed “very well” in the development stakes, although he underlined his discontent with the team’s current condition.
“From where we started, we were definitely looking at trying to enhance the vehicle and get more pace out of it,” said Ocon. “I think it’s been a fantastic season: From where we started, we were certainly looking at trying to improve the car.”
“It is abundantly evident that we improved tremendously throughout the course of the season, and we did so for a considerable amount of time during the course of the season as well; furthermore, all of the enhancements that we were bringing represented significant strides in general. This is what we need to keep doing more consistently heading into next year; we are still not in a position to be in the top five all the time, but we’ve been close at times, and this is what we need to keep doing for the foreseeable future.
According to Fernando Alonso, who will be racing for Aston Martin in the future, the Sprint Race is more of a “opportunity” than a “threat” to his team; however, the weather forecasts could turn out to be either a blessing or a curse for the team.
“I think it’s more of an opportunity than a threat at the moment, and looking up at the sky as well, the forecast is probably the most concerning thing, if we are not prepared for any wet [weather] at any time in the weekend. However, other than that, I believe it should be very simple,” said the two-time world champion, who retired from the Grand Prix of Mexico City before Ocon took eighth place.
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