Impatient Ocon "shouldn't be ashamed" of Renault performance
Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul has urged Esteban Ocon not to be ashamed of his performances this season in going up against Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo has delivered a stunning run of results, culminating in the Australian scoring Renault's first podium for nine years when he finished third last time out in the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
Ricciardo's form over the last five races, bettered only by Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, has propelled him to fourth in the drivers' standings and kept Renault in the hunt for third in the constructors' championship.
By contrast, Ocon has only scored points in six races, with his best result that of fifth in Belgium.
Defending the Frenchman, Abiteboul said: "Let’s be clear, since Monza, Monza was difficult, it’s been a bit of a reset of Esteban.
"The way that we are all working together, a lot of discussions, lots of hard work from [trackside engineer] Mark Slade, who’s not new into race engineering in order to bring him through the steps.
"I think he still needs to be very pragmatic about the situation, which is not a disaster, frankly. If you were to remove the points that he has lost due to lack of reliability, he would be behind Daniel by a chunk but we’re talking about Daniel Ricciardo.
"He [Ocon] has never had such a strong team-mate. He has had good team-mates, [Sergio] Perez, in particular, is strong but I believe that Daniel is stronger.
"So I think he needs to be very pragmatic and to set himself some realistic targets."
Abiteboul has no doubt the issues Ocon has so far endured this season can be overcome, insisting he "shouldn't be ashamed" of his current performance.
Believing the team need to "build his confidence, build his ability to be a bit patient," Abiteboul added: "Sometimes, like lots of young drivers he has a bit of impatience that’s leading him to do some small mistakes.
"But I have no worries that this can’t be fixed. And again, with the support of the team around him, it will be fixed."
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