Ocon Shares Lessons Learned from Verstappen & Hamilton

Esteban Ocon discussed his experiences competing against Max Verstappen in Formula 3, learning from Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes’ reserve driver, and named Charles Leclerc and Verstappen as the most naturally talented drivers on the current F1 grid.


‣ Esteban Ocon shared insights from his experiences racing against Max Verstappen in Formula 3, highlighting the importance of understanding an opponent’s racing style and strategies.

‣ Ocon discussed his learning experiences as Mercedes’ reserve driver, particularly from observing Lewis Hamilton’s approach to balancing racing with other commitments and the meticulous way Hamilton works with his engineering team.

‣ Despite winning the F3 title and competing closely with Verstappen, Ocon felt it was somewhat “unfair” that Verstappen received an F1 seat before him, reflecting on the challenges and unpredictability of advancing in motorsport careers.

‣ Ocon identified Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen as the two drivers with the most natural talent on the current F1 grid, citing his long history of racing alongside them and their consistent top performances regardless of conditions.

Esteban Ocon’s journey through the ranks of Formula 3 was nothing short of a rollercoaster. He found himself neck and neck with Max Verstappen, a name that resonates with speed and precision. But it wasn’t just about the competition. As Mercedes’ reserve driver, Ocon soaked up wisdom from the legendary Lewis Hamilton. On the High Performance Podcast, he spilled the beans on his learnings from these titans of the track.

Ocon’s reflections on his rivalry with Verstappen are intriguing. He felt a twinge of injustice when Verstappen snagged an F1 seat in 2014. Despite Ocon clinching the F3 title and Verstappen finishing third, the F1 opportunity seemed elusive for Ocon. Yet, he admits to picking up a trick or two from Verstappen’s playbook. Racing against him was a masterclass in strategy, revealing when to pounce and when to hold back. “Racing for a championship is a whole different ballgame,” Ocon mused, hinting at the tactical acumen required at the front of the pack.

But wait, there’s more. Ocon’s stint on the sidelines is a tale of patience and missed opportunities. The dream of joining Renault was dashed when Daniel Ricciardo swooped in. However, this twist of fate led Ocon to Mercedes, where he shadowed Hamilton. Observing Hamilton’s meticulous approach was a revelation. “The man’s always on the move, yet his focus is laser-sharp,” Ocon observed, awed by Hamilton’s ability to juggle responsibilities without missing a beat. The habit of note-taking, something Ocon adopted from Hamilton, became a game-changer for him.

Now, drumroll, please. When quizzed about the crème de la crème of F1, Ocon didn’t hesitate. Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, he declared, are the maestros of the current grid. His history with both drivers—battling Leclerc since 2005 and Verstappen since 2010—gave Ocon a front-row seat to their brilliance. “Rain or shine, we were always pushing each other to the limits,” he reminisced, a nod to the relentless pursuit of excellence that defines champions.

In the dance of gears and asphalt, Ocon’s journey intertwines with those of Hamilton, Verstappen, and Leclerc. Each chapter of his career, marked by rivalry, learning, and admiration, paints a vivid picture of the relentless drive to excel in the fast lane.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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