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First F1 podium "cherry on the cake" after tough season - Ocon

First F1 podium "cherry on the cake" after tough season - Ocon

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First F1 podium "cherry on the cake" after tough season - Ocon

First F1 podium "cherry on the cake" after tough season - Ocon

Renault driver Esteban Ocon described his first Formula 1 podium as the "cherry on the cake" after finishing as runner-up to Sergio Perez in a chaotic Sakhir Grand Prix.

Ocon made the most of his pit-stop strategy to jump ahead of Lance Stroll, before Carlos Sainz and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo conceded track position to the Frenchman by mistiming stops under the virtual safety car.

With his podium, Ocon becomes the 13th different driver to stand on the rostrum this season and said the result was a good pointer to his progression alongside his team-mate, who has regularly overshadowed Ocon this year.

"Daniel is a fantastic benchmark," he said. "He has done a very solid season into his second season at Renault, he has stepped up.

"I feel like my progression has been strong as well and I am closing the gap to him. The podium is the cherry on the cake."

Ocon was in tears as he spoke to his race engineer on the cool-down lap, his emotions bubbling over at the end of a frenetic race.

The Frenchman revealed his outpouring was down to the hard work he has put in to dispel his doubters after his season-long battle with Ricciardo.

"I have no words," he explained. "I cried on the line, that is how much emotion is going through my mind.

"It has been a tough season. It hasn't paid off all the time but we never stopped pushing. We kept working hard, we kept staying motivated and that was very important.

"At the moment, where there is less and less people believing in you, it is important to believe in yourself and today I made it happen and I am very pleased with it. It is hard work but it paid off."

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