He is just four points shy of Daniel Ricciardo, his teammate at Renault in the 2020 Driver’s standings. Honestly, collecting 16 points in a season where much of the scoring has been done by Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), respectively (or in that order) doesn’t seem that awful.
But the fact that Esteban Ocon is positioned twelfth on the 2020 standings, after seven rounds, makes evident the troubles. Make no mistakes, it’s not that the troubles brought forth by 2020 have only been the French racing driver’s to bear; Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari is eleventh on the standings, followed by the 23-year-old.
In fact, in the latest round in the season where there already have been two double-headers in the form of Austria and Great Britain, Esteban Ocon finished thirteenth on the grid, two places down when compared to his Australian teammate.
Having said that, there’s all the reason to believe that Esteban Ocon will come back stronger and emerge much better in the next races to follow. Competitive finishes, given his P6 at the first round at Silverstone, followed by that resilient P8 at round two- the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, have given a good glimpse at Ocon’s fighting abilities.
Not the one to shy away from a good battle, so far, much of the season has unfurled a competitive mid-field battle for the Renault driver with the likes of the two Racing Points and the two McLarens.
Renault’s RS 20 is a competitive machine tussling for strong finishes in the mid-field. On the one hand, the car isn’t exactly a speed demon in the department of straight-line speed when compared to Racing Point and McLaren, the Cyril Abiteboul-led side have given both Ricciardo and Ocon a car that’s throwing some good punches at the two Alpha Tauris and the Alfa Romeos.
But there’s little reason to doubt that the returning French driver, one who has both genuine talent and age, and hence, better reflexes, has in him to gear up for much stronger finishes.
Maybe, the doting fan, in this regard, cannot be blamed for thinking just where might the two Renaults finish on the grid, provided they defend brilliantly on the track and have all the support in the form of the right team strategy.
Having said that, Esteban Ocon’s own estimations of what lies ahead in the season where the next race is none other than the Belgian Grand Prix- among the most loved and widely-followed races on the calendar- indicates some positivity.
Not someone who would rue lost chances and an utterly focused driver, linked to a possible future Mercedes drive, here’s what Esteban Ocon noted ahead of this weekend’s bonanza at Spa:
I feel Spa is going to be a fresh start,” he said.
“Obviously we have a week to analyse, and recover all together, there is going to be a new gearbox, a new engine, a lot of new parts as well, because we’re obviously not happy with the performance difference between the cars.
“But hopefully that will make it closer, and it’s going to be a fresh start for my side of the garage.
“We’re changing the engine for the straightline speed that I was lacking.
“But there are also other areas, where we feel we’re not as competitive compared to the other side of the garage.”
So all said and done, where will Ocon and Ricciardo finish at the 44-lap run?
For that, we will have to expect a strong qualifying! But here’s a little throwback- the last that he drove at Spa, Ocon, began his challenge from third on the grid, in a Force India!