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Ocon delighted to come out on top in Force India duel

Force India, Esteban Ocon, British Grand Prix
© XPB 

It's no secret that relations between Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez have been strained in recent weeks. And they were doing close-quarters battle again this weekend for much of the British Grand Prix.

Fortunately, despite running together for much of the race, this time they were able to avoid any contact. Both cars made it to the finish, with Ocon pipping his team mate to eighth place after a terrific launch off the grid.

"I had a brilliant start. It felt like four-wheel drive and I moved up a couple of positions," said Ocon. The French driver actually started behind Perez on the grid, but shot up two places to fifth going into the first corner. However, he wasn't able to hold on to all the ground he had gained.

"I lost out to [Nico] Hulkenberg at the end of the first lap," he explained. "After that, I had a good battle with my teammate for most of the afternoon.

"The team let us race, just like Canada. Sergio was fast and giving me pressure, but I was able to stay ahead."

The Force India drivers were unable to hold up against brilliant recovery drives from Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo. That cost Ocon and Perez two more spots before the finish.

"It’s very satisfying to see us score points again with both cars," Ocon insisted. "Our consistency is our strength this year. On all tracks we are there with good speed and scoring points.

"We need to keep this up in the second half of the year," he added.

"It’s very satisfying to see both our cars finish inside the points at our home race," said Force India team principal Vijay Mallya. "We’ve added six important points to our tally and strengthened our fourth place in the championship.

"Keeping up this consistency is important," he noted. "As we reach the half-way point of the season, I’m feeling very proud of what we have achieved from the first ten races.

"I have equally high hopes for the rest of the season as we continue to develop the VJM10."

Not sounding quite as happy with the outcome of the race was Perez, who still leads Ocon in the championship by nine points.

"It’s been a difficult race and I have a feeling we didn’t get to demonstrate our true pace," he commented. "We should have finished higher.

"I had a poor start and that compromised the rest of the afternoon, because I couldn’t recover from it.

"Silverstone is one of the most difficult tracks on which to overtake. Even though I spent all my race within DRS range of Esteban, I never had a real opportunity to pass him.

"Being so close to the car in front damaged my tyres and cost me lots of downforce so there was nothing I could do.

"You can look back at the race and think of things that could have been done differently," he sighed. "But it’s always easy to say this after the race.

"We have been doing really well as a team and I hope we can get back to our real level in the next race and after the break.”

 
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