Esteban Ocon admitted to feeling “a little disappointed” not to have finished Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix on the podium, but felt sixth place was the maximum he could achieve for Force India against the quicker Formula 1 teams.
Ocon made a splash in a wet qualifying session at Monza by clinching third place on the grid, lining up behind Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll.
A good getaway saw Ocon pass Stroll into Turn 1, but he was slowly pulled back through the race as Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen all battled past.
Ocon led a close train including Stroll, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez to the finish, clinching sixth place and matching his second-best result of the season.
“I really enjoyed the race and I’m happy with our performance. At the same time I’m a little disappointed because I really wanted to finish on the podium today,” Ocon admitted.
“But you have to be realistic and we didn’t have the pace to match Mercedes and Ferrari, so I think sixth place was the maximum we could achieve.
“At one stage we were racing against Raikkonen and I thought we could keep him behind, but he was just too quick. I also had a good battle with Stroll for most of the race and I had to work hard to keep him behind me.
“With the strong qualifying yesterday and the sixth place today, it’s been a great weekend. I have to say a big thanks to the whole team for all their hard work and for giving me such a competitive car.”
The result saw Ocon continue his impressive record of having finish every F1 race he has started, as well as moving to within three points of teammate Sergio Perez in the drivers’ standings.