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Esteban Ocon

Ocon had dire prediction after opening lap Suzuka contact

The Alpine driver assumed the worst after making contact with Valtteri Bottas and Alex Albon on the run to Turn 1 at Suzuka.

ocon Japan Saturday
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Esteban Ocon thought his race was over after his opening lap crash with Valtteri Bottas and Alex Albon during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Alpine driver cut across and collided with Bottas during the run down to Turn 1, which also caused contact with Albon as they ran three-wide.

The most damage happened to Bottas with both front wing damage and a puncture, while Albon also picked up a significant amount of damage which forced him to retire later on in the race.

Ocon carried on and finished in the points in ninth from 14th on the grid, but assumed the worst given the amount of initial damage that was done.

"I thought it was race over from lap one," he told media, including RacingNews365.

"I got that puncture and all these cars that sandwiched me on the side, and there was not much anybody could have done really.

"It's a bit of an unfortunate incident, but I've managed to get back quite slowly to the pits under Safety Car, which helped things.

"I went to the back of the grid and slowly with a one-stop Hard-Hard we managed to do a very different race and optimise our results.

"We ended up with both cars in the points, which is a good reward after a tricky week."

'Strange' that there was only 15 finishers

There was only 15 finishers at the chequered flag, one of the least during a race all season.

"The start didn't help, I guess for Sergio [Perez] and Kevin [Magnussen] that didn't help either. That was quite close on my side as well, we were fighting there," added Ocon.

"It's pretty strange, because it's not the most crazy circuit. You would expect more DNFs in a track like Baku."

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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