Force India’s Esteban Ocon says he’ll need to pull out the stops on every lap in China next weekend, as keeping it nice and smooth isn’t the fastest way around the Shanghai circuit.
Ocon brought Vijay Mallya’s outfit its first point of the season last weekend in Bahrain, but more importantly the French driver underlined the progress of its VJ-11 at Sakhir.
“A point in Bahrain was a nice reward after a really intense weekend. We learned a huge amount and we’ve taken a step forward with the car,” said Ocon in the team’s China GP preview.
“I enjoyed the race because I had some good battles and I couldn’t relax for a moment. It always feels great when you overtake somebody in the final laps, especially when it moves you back into the points.”
Another track, another set of challenges, and Shanghai offers another very different layout compared to the first two races of the season.
“I’ve only raced at Shanghai once so far, but last year was a good experience. The fans are great and they show support for all the drivers,” he said.
“Last year I received lots of gifts so your bags are always a bit heavier on the return flight!
“It’s a tough circuit, as I found out last year, with some unusual corners and it’s not easy to hook up the perfect lap.
“You have to really attack the lap, rather than being smooth, and use the kerbs. Overtaking is possible, but it’s still difficult.
“You can sometimes find opportunities in turn six and also at the end of the back straight.”
In addition to an aggressive approach, Shanghai also requires overall consistency, a quality fortunately right up the alley of Mr. Ocon..cistency!
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“The secret to being quick in Shanghai is the same as anywhere. It’s about building your confidence with the car through all the sessions.
“The balance was pretty good in Bahrain and I’m feeling comfortable in the car. If we can just find a bit more speed we can consistently be up there in Q3 and racing for points.
“There are more updates coming to the car so it’s going to be another busy Friday.”
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