“He is not on the same level as Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc”–Former F1 driver rates Esteban Ocon’s talent.
Esteban Ocon became the latest F1 driver to win a Grand Prix after extracting the most out of the first lap chaos in Hungary. However, his maiden win doesn’t award him one of the best tags, according to former F1 driver Giedo Van der Garde.
Garde claims that Ocon is a brilliant driver but is nowhere near Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen; rather, he would put him in a bracket with Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly.
“He is not on the same level as Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. His name does not belong between these drivers,” Van der Garde told Motorsport.com [translated from French].
“He is more on the same level as Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo. Let’s say the second-best drivers in Formula 1. He certainly belongs between those names.
“For what he showed [in Budapest], he deserves a lot of respect. He didn’t make a single mistake, he drove superbly. He was incredibly consistent, he did well with the blue flags, and he also did well in the transition from a little bit wet to dry track.”
“He deserves a lot of respect for what he did there.”
He is worthy of remaining in F1.
While Garde didn’t place him at the top of the grid, he does not doubt that Ocon has managed to earn his place in F1 and is meant to survive in the sport.
“I think he is a good driver. He has shown in the lower categories he can win races and championships,” said the Dutchman. He is a driver who really belongs in Formula 1.”
“Of course, the first year he drove for Force India he was already very good, especially compared to Sergio Perez. To be honest, that’s what he showed [in Hungary] – he kept his cool and did the job. And then of course it’s fantastic to get your first Formula 1 win.”