Esteban Ocon believes he was able to show his ability in wet conditions after securing his first top-three qualifying result at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Force India left both cars out on slick tires as rain fell at the start of Q3 but was forced to pit a lap later than the rest of the field with the track too wet. Giving the drivers intermediate tires and enough fuel to run for the rest of the session, Ocon and teammate Sergio Perez were two of the last cars to start a flying lap as the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bulls had to pit early.
After qualifying one place ahead of Perez in third, when asked if he knew such a result was on offer when out on track, Ocon says the conditions allowed him to demonstrate his potential in a car that was fourth fastest at best.
“What I knew is definitely that when it’s damp conditions like this you have an opportunity and something to do,” Ocon said. “It’s always closer between the cars when the conditions are like that and today we maximized the potential of our car.
“Last time it rained I was also starting third [after qualifying fourth in Monza 2017]. It’s the second time it rains and I’m starting third, so it’s a fantastic result. Great to perform like this after a difficult time for Force India. That’s totally behind us now and we are focusing on this weekend and the car has been strong, even in the dry this weekend, so hopefully we will get a great result tomorrow.”
Force India’s recent financial troubles and resulting takeover have thrown Ocon’s future into doubt as Lance Stroll is expected to move across from Williams, but the Frenchman says performances such as at Spa will help him gain a seat somewhere on the grid.
“At the moment I don’t know where I will race next year, what I will do. The only thing I can do is do well on track, to focus and do the same job as before, try to do the best. And if you do a strong job in Formula 1, the teams, they can’t skip you, they need to have you. So, that’s what I’m trying to do.”