Belgian GP pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton believes that grand prix racing’s structure is ‘probably wrong’. His comments are probably proven by the uncertainty surrounding Esteban Ocon’s F1 future.
Ocon is a Mercedes junior, driving or the Racing Point Force India team. The Frenchman starred in mixed conditions in qualifying, putting his car third on the grid. Unfortunately, his short-term prospects in F1 were complicated by recent developments. A possible Renault move fell through when the manufacturer pursued Daniel Ricciardo instead. Meanwhile, Lawrence Stroll’s takeover of Force India has made Ocon staying put all but impossible.
Speaking about Ocon’s situation, Hamilton said: “I’ve always been a supporter of Esteban. How he conducts himself and how he performs on track, he is exceptional.
“Unfortunately we’re in a weird place in Formula 1 where some teams, rather than take the up-and-coming kid, they take the money.
“It means the structure of the sport is probably wrong, in terms of how the funds are distributed.
“I’ve not read who has signed where and what seats are available but he needs to be in a top car as he is one of the top drivers here.
“You can’t let someone who has more money leap in front of a better driver. It shouldn’t happen. The governing body definitely has to [address it] somehow.”
TV cameras zeroed in on Ocon speaking to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after qualifying. The Frenchman all but confirmed that his Force India seat would be taken by Lance Stroll in 2019.
Vettel: Next year? Still nothing?
Vettel: Will you be here [at Force India]? No?
Ocon: No, no. The seat is taken.
Vettel: Oh yeah? Who?
Ocon: Have a guess! The one who bought it!
Vettel: Yes, but the other one…?
Ocon: Well, the other one [Sergio Perez] brings money.
Vettel spoke of the Frenchman’s performance today in qualifying. He believes that team should considered signing him next year”.
“From the outside it’s difficult to judge but I think he’s doing everything right,” Vettel said.
“|It’s very good to get this qualifying session under the belt, get the car in P3 where it doesn’t belong, I think that shows enough in a session like that that can be quite chaotic and you can easily do a mistake.
“To hold it together is crucial and that’s what he did.”
“For sure, my future is not done at the moment, I don’t know where I will race next year or what I will do. The only thing I can do is do well on track, focus, do same job as before and try to do best.
“If you do a strong job in Formula 1, the team cannot skip you, they need to have you, so that is what I am trying to do.”
For now, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will have to worry about each other for tomorrow’s race.