Esteban Ocon feels he is working a lot harder than Force India Formula 1 teammate Sergio Perez in a bid to make up for his lack of experience as the pair enjoy one of the closest cross-garage battles on the grid.
Ocon moved up to Force India for 2017 after spending half a season with the backmarker Manor squad last year, and has impressed through his first 11 races in the team’s colors, scoring 45 points to Perez’s 56.
The pair have been evenly-matched on-track – albeit sometimes too much so, with their collision in Baku costing Force India a possible podium finish as a minimum.
Reflecting on his start to the season, Ocon said he had to work far harder than Perez in a bid to make up for his inexperience, the Mexican boasting an additional five-and-a-half seasons of grand prix racing on his resume.
“We respect the targets that we set at the start of the season, which means scoring points at every race. And that is pretty much what I am doing,” Ocon told the official F1 website.
” I have to work very hard! I have a lot less experience than Sergio, so I have to catch up on so many details that come naturally to him.
“Before and after each race I am mostly in the factory for simulator work. I think that is what makes a big difference.”
When asked how much more time he was putting in than Perez, Ocon said: “I don’t want to say a number, so let’s put it this way: a lot more!”
Ocon said he hoped to have been a ‘big surprise’ to Perez so far this season, adding: “I am not here to stay behind him all the time. I want to push very hard.”