Massa aiming for first Silverstone podium

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Felipe Massa is aiming to score his first Silverstone podium in this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

“I believe our car can work well at this race, as that seemed to be the case in China and Barcelona and Silverstone follows that same direction in terms of circuit characteristics,” said the Ferrari driver.

“It’s an old-style track with high speed corners, which should suit the F138, so I expect to have a good weekend. Naturally, I’m looking to score points and hoping to finish on the podium again.”

Although he’s never finished higher than fourth at the track, Massa described it as the type of venue drivers most enjoy racing on: “Silverstone is a fantastic track, first of all because of its incredible layout with high speed corners and changes of direction, which is what we drivers enjoy most, although there are also some slow corners.”

It’s a homecoming for the Italian team’s British technical director Pay Fry, who says the team have several new parts for the race:

“We have spent a lot of time analyzing data from the last few races, from the aero side to looking at tire performance, trying to put together the best possible package for Silverstone,.

“We’ve got a few upgrades coming through for this weekend and so we have to ensure we are well prepared to run them. We have been studying data from the wind tunnel to assess what is the best set up for the car for this circuit using the new parts that are coming through the system now.”

F1 2017 driver review: Esteban Ocon

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Esteban Ocon

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 31
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P5 (Spain, Mexico)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 87
Championship Position: 8th

A shining star in Mercedes’ junior programme, Esteban Ocon vaulted fellow youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the pecking order to secure a seat at Force India for 2017 – and boy, did he live up to the hype.

Ocon arrived at Force India with half a season of racing under his belt after his outings with Manor late in 2016, but wasted little time in settling in, scoring points on debut in Australia after winning a thrilling three-way fight with Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman spent much of the year close to teammate Sergio Perez – even if things did get a little too close in Canada, Baku and, finally, Spa, prompting the team to introduce team orders – and impressed the entire paddock with his displays.

While no podium was forthcoming, Ocon was often leading the midfield fight, enjoying three straight finishes ahead of Perez from Japan to Mexico. Given how well Perez is rated on-track in the paddock, to have convincingly beaten him in such fashion did a lot for Ocon’s reputation.

The term ‘Oconsistency’ also came into F1’s dictionary as he set a new record for consecutive finishes from his first race, with his retirement in Brazil ending the streak at 27 grands prix. It was also his first retirement in a single-seater race since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

The highlight moment arguably came at Monza, though, when Ocon stuck his Force India third on the grid through torrential rain in qualifying. While he would drop to P6 at the checkered flag, the display nevertheless cemented his place as one of F1’s rising stars.

Mercedes rates Ocon very highly, and with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond 2018 already being questioned by the paddock, a good season could see the youngster move on up to the top table of F1 for 2019. His progression in the next 12 months will be fascinating to keep track of.

Season High: Lining up P3 on the grid at Monza after a rainy qualifying.

Season Low: Clashing with Perez in Baku, costing Force India a possible podium.