Ocon hopes strong qualifying leads to a good Sunday drive

© XPB 

He may be heading to the unemployment line, but that prospect hasn't dimnished Esteban Ocon's speed or determination as the Force India driver demonstrated once again in qualifying in Sochi

Ocon enjoyed a productive run on Saturday afternoon, securing a sixth-place spot on Sunday's grid, a result that put him ahead of team mate Sergio Perez for the 12th time this season in qualifying.

The Frenchman rued however a small mistake on his second run in Q3 that likely prevented him from wrestling 5th from Haas' Kevin Magnussen.

"It was going to be a close fight," he admitted. "I went off unfortunately in the last run, lost it in the entry, went a bit wide from there on and couldn't improve on my second set of new tyres, but still it's a great position to be in.

The small mishap takes nothing away from his chances of a good showing in the Russian Grand Prix, although like his fellow mid-field runners, Ocon will be wary of a pair of Red Bulls that will be chasing from behind from the outset on Sunday.

Also, like his top-ten rivals, optimal management of Pirelli's hypersoft tyres will be required during his challenging first stint.

"The car performed really well today and it’s clear we’ve taken a good step forward during the last couple of races," he said.

"Starting from sixth gives us a good chance tomorrow. It will be really interesting to see how the hypersofts perform in the race and we know there will be a lot of cars further back on the ultrasofts.

"Let’s see how the strategies unfold, but I believe we can convert our strong performance today into a good race result tomorrow."

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