Esteban Ocon admits that having his own grandstand at the French Grand Prix – a career first for the Alpine driver – is a "dream come true".
With F1 returning to the Circuit Paul Ricard this weekend, Ocon admits that the atmosphere at a home race is unique, something that will be added to this year thanks to the addition of a grandstand for his fans.
"There isn’t a feeling quite like racing in your own country and seeing the passion of the home fans when arriving to the circuit, or, in the grandstands when driving past," Ocon explained ahead of the event.
"I'll also have my own grandstand this weekend which is a first for me and a dream come true. I know the atmosphere will be amazing in the 'Esteban Ocon Grandstand' and throughout the grounds in what is a sold-out race weekend."
Ocon outlines characteristics of Circuit Paul Ricard
F1 returned to the Circuit Paul Ricard in 2018, and in this time Ocon has become familiar with the challenges it poses.
"It’s always special going back to Le Castellet, a track we all know well," the Frenchman said.
"It’s a circuit famous for its mix of high-speed straights and the
demanding sequences of low and medium-speed corners.
"The low-speed section heading onto the Mistral straight is tight and requires a flexible set-up on the car. Then you have the faster, more technical section from Signes until the last corner which is quite demanding on the tyres."
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The importance of qualifying
Ocon believes that perfecting the car's set-up will be crucial in ensuring a good qualifying on Saturday.
"Qualifying is important here and getting the set-up right for Saturday afternoon will be key," he continued.
"I enjoyed the days off after Austria, but I am ready to jump back in the A522 and get my home Grand Prix weekend started."
Going into his home race, Ocon currently sits P8 in the World Championship with 52 points.
His team, Alpine, have now equalled McLaren on 81 points in the Constructors' standings in the battle for fourth.
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