Esteban Ocon has shown signs of being a serious threat to team mate Sergio Perez which could give Force India more headaches in the second half of 2017.
Perez has the upper hand over Ocon for now, while Carlos Sainz Jnr and Pascal Wehrlein are also winning the battles in their teams.
Force India: Perez’s new threat
After three years carving out a solid reputation for himself by gradually overwhelming Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez is now cast in the role of team leader by seniority and superiority. However rookie Esteban Ocon is showing every sign of being capable of eroding the latter.
Although he has unquestionably been the superior of the two drivers, Perez simply cannot shake Ocon off. This is a question of margins: Perez has out-qualified Ocon nine times, which is the same as Felipe Massa’s score against Lance Stroll. But while the Williams rookie has averaged 0.7 seconds off his team mate’s pace, Ocon has been within two-tenths of Perez.
For Perez, the gap is too close for comfort. It probably goes some way to explaining why, when Force India tried to split their strategies in Canada, he was unwilling to co-operate by letting Ocon through, even when Force India offered to give him the position back later.
Ocon is only 11 points behind Perez going into the second half of the season. He has the added advantage of prior F1 experience at all the remaining tracks. If he can end the season ahead of Perez in the championship that will be a massive result for the 20-year-old.
Which Force India driver finished ahead
Toro Rosso: Kvyat keeping up in qualifying
It’s not been a great season so far for Daniil Kvyat, who is on the rough end of a fairly one-sided contest at Toro Rosso.
His qualifying form is his one saving grace, however, and could explain why the team is expected to keep him for another year. He is usually able to match team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr on Saturdays. Now he needs to successfully convert a few more of those points-scoring opportunities in the second half of the year.
Which Toro Rosso driver finished ahead
|Carlos Sainz Jnr||Q|
Sauber: Wehrlein holds sway
The two Sauber drivers usually only have each other to race against. So it was tough for Marcus Ericsson that on one of few occasions the C36 was able to score points he had to let Pascal Wehrlein through.
This was in Azerbaijan, prior to which the team robustly rejected claims that former team principal Monisha Kaltenborn had been shown the door partly because the team’s owners wanted to favour Ericsson. If they have been doing, it’s not helped much.
Which Sauber driver finished ahead
2017 F1 season
- Were the stewards right to penalise Verstappen?
- Another Austin masterclass bring Hamilton’s fourth title ever closer
- Hamilton: Vettel killed his tyres in the first stint
- Horner calls penalty “appalling”, Verstappen blames “idiot steward”
- 2017 United States Grand Prix in pictures