Alpine’s Esteban Ocon is confident that the team can challenge for strong points finishes in Istanbul because ‘we’ve done our homework’ ahead of 2021 Turkish Grand Prix.
Ocon narrowly missed out on the final point at last year’s race as he finished 11th but has recently seen a five-race points scoring run ended in Sochi, Russia, as he finished 14th at the checkered flag following a late shower.
Reflecting on Sochi, Ocon confessed that he felt “disappointed to not score points” but noted that the “mixed conditions” cost him a top ten finish, yet revealed that he spent the following week “reviewing some things as, in the dry, we were not too competitive and we missed out a little bit.”
Grip was a huge issue last year on a resurfaced track whilst various incidents throughout the race resulted in a 11th-placed finish, which Ocon is “determined to put right this year”, with the circuit having been “water-blasted” in an attempt to improve grip levels.
Looking ahead to this weekend in which Pirelli brings C2, C3 & C4 tyres which are a step softer than 2020, Ocon said: “The tyres are a step softer than last season and the weather looks better so hopefully we can put it all together and enjoy a solid weekend.”
‘We can be quite pleased with how competitive we were in wet and dry conditions…’
Fernando Alonso meanwhile is returning to Turkey after a ten-year absence, having last raced in Istanbul in 2011 where he finished third for Ferrari.
Alonso though come into this race feeling slightly “disheartened” after a late rain shower in Sochi last time out cost him a potential podium which he believed “was earnt on merit”, although he is happy with his eventual sixth placed finish
The experienced two-time world champion though is positive heading into this weekend, adding: “We can be quite pleased with how competitive we were in wet and dry conditions and need to take this momentum into Turkey.”
Alonso meanwhile ventured down memory lane as he reflected on a classic battle with 2006 title rival – Michael Schumacher, as he commented: ” I had a fun battle with Michael [Schumacher] there in 2006. He was right behind my gearbox exiting the final corner on the last lap.”