While it was an early end for Esteban Ocon in Germany, the Frenchman heads to Portugal with the necessary motivation and confidence as he eyes a return to the points for the first Formula 1 race at the Algarve International Circuit.
Have you raced in Portugal?
The first time I raced in Portugal was in 2011, at the karting track of Portimão, which is close to the circuit. I was fighting for the title in the world series of karting and, at this race, I was actually on pole position, so that was a good memory! I remember seeing Formula 1 cars testing there and making some noise on the other side of the kart track! I was dreaming that one day I’d have the chance to drive there, and now it’s on the calendar this year. I’m looking forward to going to Portugal.
What do you know about the Algarve International Circuit?
From the outside it looks like a rollercoaster lap. I’ve driven it on my home simulator and it’s quite a challenge. It’s very hilly, some elevation changes and some cool corners, so I think it’ll be something special in a Formula 1 car. There are quite a lot of medium-speed corners and that will be demanding for the car. It’s different to the Nürburgring in terms of the weather as well. It’s going to be an interesting one and we have to adapt to the new conditions and the track quicker than the others. That’s the aim.
How do you reflect on the past run of races?
It’s really positive that the car is performing well in many races on different types of tracks. We know we can’t afford to stop the hard work now as there’s a long way to go in the season as the championship is extremely tight. I was happy with how the Eifel Grand Prix was going. It was a shame not to finish the race, as there were definitely points on the table. I’m determined for a good weekend in Portugal and we aim to finish with solid points at the end of the weekend.