Esteban Ocon says F1’s most recent triple-header was the “coolest” of the three packed periods of racing experienced this year, but the Renault driver admitted the compressed schedule was also “a big physical and mental” challenge.
The disruption of F1’s 2020 schedule caused by the coronavirus pandemic forced the sport’s authorities to rebuild an entirely new calendar compressed in a shorter time frame.
The result was a frantic succession of races over the summer, with nine events in 12 weeks that included three triple-headers.
F1’s team bosses insist that three races in succession should not become standard practice in the future, but Ocon is among those that enjoyed the recent Spa, Monza, Mugello stretch.
“I really think this triple-header is one of the coolest we’ve done this year,” the Frenchman said in his column for the official F1 website.
“Spa and Monza are usually back-to-back at this point in the season, so that’s one of the normal periods we kept this year on the calendar.
“To add Mugello to that phase was awesome. Tuscany is a fantastic place. I really enjoyed my time there and I do hope Mugello finds its way onto future calendars.”
Ocon’s positive feeling was perhaps rooted in the good results achieved by Renault during the most recent period and which validated the Enstone squad’s undeniable progress.
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“It was a busy three weeks, a big physical and mental challenge, but also a very good one for us, scoring 47 points overall, the most of all the midfield teams,” Ocon added.
“That means we’re going in the right direction, improving during the season, which is very good and we’re looking forward for more.
“When we came to Mugello it turned out we were competitive, which was a very good surprise.
“We didn’t expect to be so competitive as we know where the strengths of our car are. The pace was strong in qualifying, I made a little mistake on my last lap in Q3 and that cost us.
“It was a shame to retire early as it looked like a fun race to be in. I’m pleased Daniel got a strong result for us and he showed what we’re doing as a team at the moment is good.”
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Formula 1 will enjoy a respite this weekend before the action resumes in Sochi next week. But for Ocon, who celebrated his 24th birthday this week, it’s bene a busy past few days.
“I was at Enstone on the simulator with the guys at the factory, working hard to prepare for Sochi,” he said.
“We took a short break from the simulator to celebrate my birthday with some home-made cakes, which was a nice surprise!
“It was a full day’s work for all of us, in the cave with the engineers trying to get ready for the weekend ahead of us.
“It’s hopefully going to be a good one and we want to keep the momentum going. If we can keep that up, then we can maximise our chances there.
“We head to Russia feeling determined and, beyond that, we’ll keep doing our best for strong performances and to put on a show for the fans!”
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