Formula One: Force India's Esteban Ocon showing he could be a force to be reckoned with

Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez during a meet-and-greet session at NEC's Hyflux Innovation Centre office.
Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez during a meet-and-greet session at NEC's Hyflux Innovation Centre office.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - With only seven races left in his first full Formula One season, Force India's Esteban Ocon has impressed with his consistency.

The 20-year-old, who won the GP3 title in 2015, has finished in the points 12 out of the 13 races prior to the Singapore Grand Prix, proving his potential.

He is eighth in the driver standings with 55 points. His best finish was fifth in Barcelona.

"In the end consistency is the key if you want to be in a good position in the championship at the end, and I always keep that in mind," the Frenchman, who turns 21 on Sunday, told The Straits Times on Wednesday (Sept 13).

He joined Manor last August, replacing Indonesian Rio Haryanto midway through the 2016 season.

"It's been a very fast journey (over the last 12 months), it still feels like my debut was just yesterday," he said. "I'm enjoying myself, enjoying driving around the world. It's what I have been working for my whole life and I really like it."

Ocon and team-mate Sergio Perez were involved in several bust ups in Canada, Azerbaijan, Hungary and most recently Belgium but have seemingly put it behind them. Both were present at Wednesday's meet-and-greet session at information and communication technologies partner NEC's Hyflux Innovation Centre office.

Force India currently sit fourth in the constructor standings with 113 points, 99 behind third-placed Red Bull. The team finished a record fourth last year with 173 points.

The 27-year-old Perez praised the team's VJM10 as a "very consistent car".

The Mexican added: "The team worked really hard to get that car, to get that result, and that's what we try to manage - to extract (the maximum from) the package each time."

Both drivers lamented spending power as the main reason for the gap between the top three teams.

Ocon said: "The difference of budget is big but we are still not very far from the others. Looking at that, it really proves that our team is doing a fantastic job this season.

"If we could make it into the points with both cars (in Singapore)I think it'll be a good result."