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How Ocon was able to end 2020 so strongly

After spending a year out of Formula 1 Esteban Ocon returned to the sport in 2020 with the Renault team. His return was far from smooth with the Frenchman lagging behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo especially during the first half of the season. So how did he turn it around?

Esteban Ocon proved to be a very quick driver during his stint at Force India. The Frenchman highlighted his talent during the qualifying session for the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix when he put his Force India/Racing Point in third place on the grid. Despite this he eventually had to settle for a role on the sidelines in 2019, serving as an official reserve driver for Mercedes. Ocon made his return to F1 racing in 2020 when he signed a deal with Renault to partner the formidable Daniel Ricciardo. However, the French driver struggled to adjust to his new surroundings especially during the first few races before gradually improving. So what happened? "I thought it would be enough if I did exactly the same as with Force India and that the car would drive like a glove. But it didn't work that way," the Renault driver tells Autosport. "All cars are different. And that's something I've learned; you have to find the best way to go faster and faster." This approach cost him especially in relation to his teammate who was in his second year with the team. "Early in the year I was still adjusting my driving style and everything I did on the track," the Frenchman said. "In Formula 1, you gain more time if you work more closely with your engineers and if you work more on the car. "Ultimately, that generates confidence and that in turn benefits your driving style." Ocon was rewarded for his persistence and effort, finishing second at the Sakhir Grand Prix. The Frenchman though believes the turning point came a race earlier in Bahrain. "I feel like we were doing a lot better at the end of the year. I was happiest with the car in the first race in Bahrain," he said. "The car felt really strong there. I think that race proved that we to be on the right track."

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