'We should have swapped Perez and Ocon,' admits Szafnauer

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Force India has admitted that it probably should have imposed team orders to switch its two drivers around during the Canadian Grand Prix.

Esteban Ocon had fresher tyres and a faster car during the final phase of the race. However he found himself stuck behind his team mate Sergio Perez and was unable to get past.

The team held a lengthy discussion with its drivers about the situation, but did not order Perez to let Ocon go by. It cost Ocon any chance of catching up with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo for a podium.

In the end, both cars were overtaken by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Perez finished the race in fifth place with Ocon in sixth, which felt like an opportunity lost.

After the race the team said it would look into what happened, and whether there would have to be changes in their approach in future.

"What I would have done is perhaps swap them earlier, just after the Ferraris pitted," admitted the team's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer. "Do it then and it is easy.

"You can get your tyres back up to temperature and there is no risk from behind," he added. "Then if it doesn't happen, you still have time to swap back.

"We didn't do that, we started discussing it a bit late and then after it was too late," he told Motorsport.com.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing because you have more information.

"We contemplated swapping them to give them a go, but there are a lot of things that happen when you swap," he explained.

""You lose time when you swap. But more importantly you lose tyre temperature, and tyre temperature is really critical.

"If you do that, you are not back up to speed straight away. We had the Ferraris charging, so there are ifs, ands and buts.

"Looking at it we will analyse it," he said. "But had we swapped them I don't think Esteban would have got by [Ricciardo]."

Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles has suggested an alternative approach. He said that the team should have pitted Perez as soon as Ocon closed up to him.

In a post-race Mercedes strategy video, Vowles explained that this would have limited Ferrari's ability to bring Sebastian Vettel in for a late stop. He added that such an approach would have given both Force India drivers the chance of attacking for the podium.

"It leaves Esteban trying to attack Ricciardo for that P3. If he is not successful, Perez would have caught up again and allowed him the chance to overtake with much fresher tyres.

"That would have generated a good opportunity for Force India."

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