Ocon: SFI achieved maximum at Suzuka
9 October 2017 – Esteban Ocon hailed an "awesome" result for Force India at the Japanese Grand Prix, as he came home in sixth position, backed up by team-mate Sergio Pérez.
Ocon started from fifth spot and moved up to third early on, having passed Daniel Ricciardo exiting Turn 1 before overhauling the ailing Sebastian Vettel at the start of lap two.
He then slipped behind Ricciardo and the recovering Valtteri Bottas after an early Safety Car period, while Kimi Räikkönen used the alternative strategy to also clear the French youngster.
Ocon nonetheless stayed out of trouble throughout the remainder of the stint to take sixth position, ahead of Pérez, marking his 15th points finish in 16 races.
"It was a great race, especially the start and the opening laps, and I was running third for a long time," commented Ocon.
"We are still missing a little bit of pace to keep the big guys behind, but it was great fun fighting at the front.
"I tried my best to keep Ricciardo and Bottas behind, but they were just too quick and I had to let them go and focus on my race.
"The main challenge was managing my pace because it was a one-stop race and it was important to look after the tyres so they would be strong at the end.
"I was running ahead of Checo, we had nothing to gain from the cars ahead and a comfortable margin to the cars behind.
"So the priority was to bring the car home and score the big points.
"It's been an awesome weekend and it feels as though we achieved the maximum, which is why this result is so enjoyable."
Ocon holds eighth position in this year's championship.