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Esteban Ocon

Why Ocon believes he would challenge Verstappen

Though currently mired in F1's midfield, Esteban Ocon says he would be challenging for the title if he had the machinery to do so.

Ocon Canada
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Esteban Ocon says he would be fighting with Max Verstappen for the Formula 1 World Championship if both were given equal equipment.

The two drivers first duelled together in the 2014 FIA Formula 3 Championship, with Ocon sealing the series title as Verstappen ended up third in the standings.

However, it is the Dutchman who has had by far the greater success in F1, with 41 Grand Prix wins and two World Championship titles to date.

By contrast, Ocon has just a single Grand Prix win to his name, having taken a surprising but deserved victory in an attritional 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, and the Frenchman has never had the car underneath him to fight regularly at the front in F1.

With Verstappen's current Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez seemingly unable to remain on terms with the Dutchman for any length of time, Ocon suggested that he would be able to go toe-to-toe with Verstappen.

"I see myself fighting with Verstappen for the World Championship if we had the same car," Ocon told DAZN.

"Max is doing an incredible job, he is dominating with Red Bull, but I don't care who the driver is.

"I want to fight for the Championship. I've always believed in myself. There's a long road ahead, but my goal is to be World Champion."

Ocon on his aggressive style

Since debuting in F1 in 2016, Ocon has gained a reputation as a hard racer, and made contact with erstwhile Force India teammate Perez on more than one occasion, prompting the team to issue orders that they were not to attack each other for position.

Ocon also notably tangled with Verstappen as he tried to unlap himself at the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix, prompting a physical altercation between the two drivers after the race, and the Frenchman acknowledged that he was known for his forceful driving style.

"The truth is I don't want people to think I'm a tough guy, because I'm a nice guy out there," said Ocon.

"But my way of driving is hard. It's probably true, but I'm happy with it."

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