Ocon: 'I think I'm still faster than Verstappen'


Max Verstappen is already running up front in F1, but Esteban Ocon believes he's still quicker than his former F3 rival.

Ocon and Verstappen grew up together in the junior ranks, with the former beating the latter in F3 as the pair furiously battled each other.

While the Red Bull Racing Dutch prodigy is already a bona fide Grand Prix winner, Ocon believes he still has the upper hand over his rival.

"I was quicker than him, for sure," Ocon remembers.

"I got a lot more poles than he did. I don't know if I'm quicker than him now, but I think so!

"You can't really compare any more, you need to be in the same car to fight together. Maybe it's going to happen at some point, I don't know.

"But he's really doing a good job at the moment and he's one of the best drivers on the grid."

Verstappen recently committed to a new three-year contract with Red Bull Racing, while Ocon will remain with Force India for at least another year.

Supported by Mercedes since his junior years, the 21-year-old Frenchman is looking at a possible opening with the German team at the end of 2018.

But Toto Wolff insists that any talk about the squad's driver line-up beyond next year is way premature.

"Esteban is one of our drivers and is therefore in the picture, but the team and all of its strength is behind Valtteri," Wolff told Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"If we to start thinking about other drivers, it would mean that the emotional side would not be 100 per cent for Valtteri," he added.

"I can assure you, from the board to every team member, we all want Valtteri to succeed," he said.

"Together with Lewis, he is our driver and we do not think of any others."

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