Esteban Ocon hails Force India's 'big step forward' in recent races
With the upgrades brought in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, Force India has pulled up a significant gap in the constructors' championship - even they they are a bit off from third placed Red Bull Racing.
But the Indian outfit sits a comfortable fourth by the margin of 81 points over fifth placed Williams with four races to go in the 2017 Formula 1 season - which has made Esteban Ocon believe strongly in its package.
“I was really pleased with our performance in Suzuka. It was definitely one of my best races this year and it’s always enjoyable when you come away on the Sunday night feeling that you achieved the maximum that was possible," he said.
"The car was quick from the very start of practice and the same was true in Malaysia. It feels as though we’ve taken a big step forward recently and I believe we will be strong in all of the remaining races."
Last year on his debut at the Circuit of Americas, Ocon finished 18th for Manor, while teammate Sergio Perez was eighth in the order. The Mexican concurred Ocon's sentiments regarding the job done by the Silverstone-based team in the last few races.
“I’m feeling happy with how things have gone during the last few races. I’m proud of the job we have done and the results we have achieved," he said.
"It’s great that we are still bringing new parts to the car and making progress. The car is working well and Austin should be another chance to score good points.”
Overall, the team is still searching for its first double points finish in Austin, which they are very much capable to attain this weekend - its best result is of fifth place courtesy Perez in 2015.
Team principal Vijay Mallya also spoke highly of the progress made over the season, especially in the last few races as its driver's mentioned about.
"The last few races have seen us take some significant steps forward with the performance of the VJM10," said the Indian ahead of the United States Grand Prix this weekend.
"In Malaysia and Japan, we were the fourth fastest team and I’m confident we can remain there for the upcoming races. In Japan, for example, we finished over 20 seconds clear of the eighth-placed car, which is a big statement on such a technical track.
"It’s thanks to all the hard work in the wind tunnel, the factory, and trackside that we are sitting in a very strong fourth place in the championship with 81 points advantage to fifth place.
"The next race in Austin will be another opportunity to score well and consolidate our position.”