Esteban Ocon achieved his first podium in Formula 1 last weekend and the team’s best result since returning to the sport in 2016. It was a proud moment for the Frenchman as he sets his sights on the season finale.
Has that podium feeling sunk in yet?
I’m so happy from last weekend. I’d like to say a big thanks to the team for executing a really good race; from the strategy calls to the pitstops, it was a team effort and one we deserved. I was definitely very emotional on Sunday after the race, especially when everything had calmed down and I spoke to my parents and girlfriend on the phone. It’s been a dream to not only race in Formula 1 but to be on the podium, so to achieve that is very satisfying. Now I’ve had that feeling, I only want to have it again and we’ll continue to fight to achieve more results like that.
What do you like about racing in Abu Dhabi?
The Abu Dhabi weekend is always quite special as it’s the final race of the season and there’s a cool atmosphere in the paddock. Racing at night is very enjoyable too, so to have these last three races under the lights is really fun. The aim is to build off last weekend, finish strongly and enter the winter off-season on a happy note. In terms of the circuit, it’s quite a nice, flowing track. The two long straights are good opportunities to overtake with DRS and hopefully we’ll be in a position to battle on track so we can give it a go.
How have the results been here in the past?
I have great memories from Yas Marina as it’s where I won the GP3 Series in 2015. Before last weekend, it was actually five years ago since I was last on the podium at that round, which is crazy to think. It was also the track where I drove in FP1 for the first time in Formula 1. It feels like I’ve tested a lot there in the past, including my first taste with the R.S.19 last season, which helped me prepare for my first year with the team.