Hamilton on Ocon and how the situation isn’t healthy for F1. Vettel’s conversation with him confirms he is leaving.
Lewis Hamilton managed to secure his 78th pole position today, when he weathered rain to outpace his fierce rival Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari had looked fastest on track until Q3, but rain tilted the tide in Hamilton’s favour, who thanks to the Mercedes timing, got the best possible conditions to get in that quick Q3 lap.
And while the focus was on the Hamilton-Vettel rivalry, the Force India drivers, quietly snuck into the second row.
After so much drama around the existence and the future of the team, Ocon, Perez and everyone involved in getting those two drivers focussed and ready on the track were in dreamland.
Ocon was largely lost for words after qualifying in 3rd, especially when he was quizzed about his future.
While Perez is certain to retain his Force India seat, a conversation between Vettel and Ocon has revealed that Ocon will not be at Force India next year.
Vettel: Next year? Still nothing?
Vettel: Will you be here [at Force India]? No?
Ocon: No, no. The seat is taken.
Vettel: Oh yeah? Who?
Ocon: Have a guess! The one who bought it!
Vettel: Yes, but the other one…?
Ocon: Well, the other one [Sergio Perez] brings money. [Transcript from Motorsport.com]
Vettel then spoke about the entire Ocon situation in the press conference, expressing his concern over the entire situation.
“From the outside it’s difficult to judge but I think he’s doing everything right,” Vettel said.
“It’s very good to get this qualifying session under the belt, get the car in P3 where it doesn’t belong, I think that shows enough in a session like that that can be quite chaotic and you can easily do a mistake.
“To hold it together is crucial and that’s what he did.” he added.
Hamilton too showed his concern for Ocon and highlighted the situation to talk about everything that is wrong with the sport.
“I’ve always been supporter of Esteban. How he conducts himself and how he performs on track, he is exceptional.” Hamilton said.
“Unfortunately we’re in a weird place in Formula 1 where some teams, rather than take the up-and-coming kid, they take the money.
“It means the structure of the sport is probably wrong, in terms of how the funds are distributed.
“I’ve not read who has signed where and what seats are available but he needs to be in a top car as he is one of the top drivers here.
“You can’t let someone who has more money leap in front of a better driver. It shouldn’t happen. The governing body definitely has to [address it] somehow.” he added.
Ocon was touched by Hamilton and Vettels’ comments and said that he would try and remain focussed at the job at hand.
“For sure, my future is not done at the moment, I don’t know where I will race next year or what I will do. The only thing I can do is do well on track, focus, do same job as before and try to do best.
“If you do a strong job in Formula 1, the team cannot skip you, they need to have you, so that is what I am trying to do.” Ocon said.