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Ocon thankful for Ricciardo 2020 "benchmark"

Ocon thankful for Ricciardo 2020 "benchmark"

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Ocon thankful for Ricciardo 2020 "benchmark"

Ocon thankful for Ricciardo 2020 "benchmark"

Esteban Ocon has described former Renault team-mate Daniel Ricciardo as a "very, very good benchmark" to have had upon his return to Formula 1 last year.

Ocon made his F1 comeback with the French manufacturer after a year out from the sport and was outclassed by Ricciardo across the majority of the season.

Ricciardo has moved to McLaren for 2021 and, as Renault rebrands as Alpine, Ocon will be joined by two-time champion Fernando Alonso who returns to the sport after two years out.

Of his former team-mate, Ocon said: "He was a very, very good benchmark for me around a lot of things.

"He was always pushing and extracting the best from the car, and that had been pushing me and my side of the garage as well because you need to get that car around the track in the fastest way possible and I was learning that alongside Daniel.

"So, that was good to have him as a benchmark for my return."

While Ocon's performances in individual races were often strong, the Frenchman ended 2020 12th on 62 points while Ricciardo finished fifth on 119 points.

However, a maiden F1 podium for Ocon in the Sakhir Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the year, will undoubtedly provide the Alpine driver with a much-needed confidence boost heading into the new season.

Assessing his season as a whole, Ocon, who appeared in Q2 only eight times from a possible 17, identified his Saturday qualifying performance as an area he needs to improve on.

"It’s definitely better on one lap and that’s the progression I am looking for," he added.

"I’ve been trying to sort that out to improve our weekend construction and how I approach qualifying, and I feel like we’ve done that pretty well. The more I do, the better I feel in the car."

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