Ocon says Raikkonen was beatable as Perez caught by track conditions in Mexico
Esteban Ocon was once again in the limelight after qualifying sixth for the Mexican Grand Prix - having beaten Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and finishing 0.199s behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
Naturally, the Frenchman was upbeat about the results, hailing Force India's overnight work, but Ocon thought he would have beaten Raikkonen - if not for a mistake on his final lap in Q3.
"I just take it as a great team result," he said. "It is fantastic [from the team], that you see after a good night of work, we managed to put the car back because yesterday was really hard to drive.
"I didn’t do FP1, so was a tough day yesterday. [But it was] a great job from the team to bring more performance today and also they didn’t sleep much overnight, speaking with the factory together, so good job [overall].
"They gave me a really strong car and during the session the pace just got better and better. I actually made a small mistake on my final lap in Q3 so maybe I could have been even faster and ahead of Raikkonen," adding that he is confident to fight his nearest challengers and score good points.
While Ocon had a solid run, home hero Sergio Perez's day didn't go as per plans after the Mexican only finished 10th. This was the seventh time that Ocon out-qualified his teammate - the fourth race in succession that he has managed to do so.
The Mexican lamented the change in track conditions, which saw the track temperature increase by seven degrees from Q1 to Q3, forcing a lot of drivers to change its warming technique in a short time during qualifying.
"We changed the strategy with tyre warm-up [due to change in conditions]," said Perez. "Q1 was very competitive, Q2 run one was more or less ok, but then with the track improvement we just went slower.
"So that meant I was not able to improve and find the lap time which I was hoping for and that put me in P10, which was quite a bad result for us today, but hopefully tomorrow I can really have a strong start and gain some place."
With the qualifying results of Force India, especially Ocon, to that of Williams, who drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll sit 11th and 12th respectively - there is a good chance for the Indian outfit to seal fourth position in Sunday's race.