Esteban Ocon recorded his first podium finish in a year which was otherwise mediocre. Here are the facts and statistics from Ocon’s 2020 F1 season!
Esteban Ocon recorded Renault’s best result of the 2020 season, but his comeback was perhaps not the triumphant return many expected. There were few highlights for the Frenchman in 2020, though the obvious standout moment was his podium finish at the Sakhir Grand Prix. After a year on the sidelines, Ocon out-qualified his team-mate on only two occasions in 2020 – at the wet Styrian Grand Prix and the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In races which both Ocon and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished, Ocon was ahead in only three – the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, the Portuguese Grand Prix and the Sakhir Grand Prix.
The margins by which Ocon was out-qualified were not huge, and he set faster sector times than Ricciardo in 21 of this season’s 51 qualifying sectors. Next year, Ocon faces Fernando Alonso as his new team-mate. Given the Spaniard’s strong qualifying record, and his ability to get the best results out of his cars, Ocon will need to up his game again in 2021.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Austria: Esteban Ocon returned to Formula 1 after a 508 day absence since his last race at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was the exact same gap between races as Francisco Godia-Sales spent on the sidelines between the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix and the 1956 Belgian Grand Prix – the 171st longest gap between races for a driver. In the race, Ocon finished eighth, picking up the Renault works team’s first points at the Austrian Grand Prix since 1983.
Styria: Esteban Ocon qualified in fifth position for the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix. It was the first time he reached Q3 since the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix and marked only the third time that he has qualified in the top five. He was less successful on Sunday, as he became the third and final retiree of the afternoon. It was his first retirement since the final race of his first stint in F1, the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and marked Renault’s third DNF in the last four Austrian races.
Hungary: Esteban Ocon finished in fourteenth place for only the second time in his career at the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix. The only other time he has finished fourteenth was at the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix. Fourteenth is his worst finishing position from his three Hungarian Grand Prix appearances.
Britain: Esteban Ocon finished sixth at the 2020 British Grand Prix, scoring his first top six finish since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. It is his best ever result at Silverstone.
70th Anniversary: Esteban Ocon finished eighth in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. He maintained his 100% points-scoring record at Silverstone, having scored points on all four of his visits to the circuit.
Spain: Esteban Ocon was slowest of the drivers in Q2 at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix, ensuring that Renault recorded a double Q2 elimination. Ocon finished thirteenth in the race. He has not scored in Barcelona since his first appearance in 2017.
Belgium: With fifth place, Esteban Ocon equalled the best result of his career to date. He also finished fifth twice in 2017, at the Spanish and Mexico Grands Prix.
Italy: Esteban Ocon finished in eighth place at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. It was the first time a French driver finished eighth at the Italian Grand Prix since Romain Grosjean did so in 2013 when also driving for the Enstone-based team.
Tuscany: Esteban Ocon failed to rejoin the Tuscan Grand Prix after the first Red Flag period due to a brake failure. He recorded his second retirement since his comeback to Formula 1.
Russia: Esteban Ocon finished the 2020 Russian Grand Prix in seventh place, equalling his previous best Sochi result. He also finished seventh at the circuit in 2017.
Eifel: Esteban Ocon retired from the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, recording his second retirement in the last three races. It was only the second time in his career that he has retired twice in the space of three races. The last time he did so was when he recorded successive retirements in the 2018 Azerbaijan and Spanish Grands Prix.
Portugal: Esteban Ocon finished the Portuguese Grand Prix one place ahead of his team-mate in eighth place. It was only the second time in 2020 that Ocon has finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in a race in which both Renault drivers reached the chequered flag.
Emilia Romagna: At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon recorded Renault’s 120th Q2 exit after qualifying in twelfth place. In the race, Ocon retired for the third time in the last five races and recorded the third retirement in the last four races for the driver starting twelfth on the grid.
Turkey: Esteban Ocon reached Q3 for the third time in the last five races. At all of the last three race weekends where Ocon has reached Q3, he has qualified in seventh place. The Turkish Grand Prix was the twelfth race in a row where Ocon was out-qualified by his team-mate. Prior to 2020, Ocon had not been out-qualified at more than seven races in a row.
Bahrain: After recording his best-ever Bahrain qualifying result with seventh, Ocon finished ninth in the race and maintained his 100% points scoring record at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sakhir: Esteban Ocon finished on the podium for the first time in his Formula 1 career. Ocon became the 214th driver to finish on the podium in World Championship history. His was the 306th top three finish for a French driver and the first time that a French driver finished on the podium with Renault since Patrick Tambay at the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix. The last French driver to finish on the podium for the Enstone team was Romain Grosjean at the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix. Ocon made his first podium appearance on his 66th start. Only six drivers have taken longer to record their first podium finish: Carlos Sainz, Martin Brundle, Mika Salo, Jenson Button, Pedro de la Rosa and Johnny Herbert.
Abu Dhabi: Esteban Ocon out-qualified team-mate Daniel Ricciardo at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time since the Styrian Grand Prix. Ocon scored for a third consecutive race. It was the first time he had scored points at three successive races since doing so at the 2018 Austrian, British and German Grands Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.