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Esteban Ocon

Ocon reveals just how narrowly he escaped crashing like Schumacher

Esteban Ocon had a bit of a moment during qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and the Alpine driver admits that he only just escaped what could have been a big incident.

Ocon Saudi
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Esteban Ocon admits that he came dangerously close to suffering a crash like that experienced by Mick Schumacher in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The session was brought to a halt for some time after Schumacher lost the rear-end of his Haas at the high-speed Turn 12 on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, prompting his VF-22 to hit the concrete wall hard.

Schumacher was taken by ambulance to the Medical Centre, and from there was flown to a nearby hospital to undergo further checks. He was later released, but will not participate in Sunday's race.

Ocon was "one degree" away from having an incident

Later in the session, Ocon suffered a near miss when he had a bit of a moment himself on his second run in Q3, resulting in a slight scare for the Alpine driver.

"Not nice. Not nice at all," Ocon told media including RacingNews365.com.

"I pushed hard, didn't get the tyre up to temperature as much as I wanted. I tried to get the lap time, but in the end, I backed off."

On just how narrowly he escaped a similar crash to Schumacher's, the Frenchman added: "I think one more degree I would have been gone. [It was] exactly the same thing that happened to me."

Jeddah is a "risk and reward" track

Ocon feels that the drivers were pushing the limits of the track more in qualifying than in the previous Free Practice sessions.

"There's not much run-off. We know it. We know it's a risk and reward track," he explained.

"You need to push in qualy. We've seen all the drivers being aware of that, because there was no incident in practice.

"Once you push the limit very hard, you are very near them. It's two scary moments, but we know it's risk and reward."

P5 on the grid for Ocon in Saudi Arabia

In terms of his own session, Ocon was pleased to secure P5 on the grid for Sunday's race in Jeddah, though admits that his main concern was knowing that Schumacher was okay.

"A lot of things happened, for sure, but the most important [thing] is that Mick is fine," Ocon said.

"Today's result is always secondary when you see things like that. That's the main thing."

It was an eventful session for Ocon. At one stage he was impeded by the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo, who later received a three-place grid penalty for the incident.

The French driver is feeling hopeful about what he and teammate Fernando Alonso - who will line up P7 - can achieve in the race.

"[I'm] very happy with how we've built the weekend so far, for me and Fernando," he added.

"To be in the mix here is the most important thing, because there are big opportunities always."

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F1 2022 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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