A dream come true for Ocon

French Grand Prix af­ter an ab­sence of 10 years

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF -

Force In­dia’s French driver Este­ban Ocon says the re­turn of the French Grand Prix af­ter a decade-long ab­sence is “a dream come true”.

The Paul Ri­card cir­cuit near Mar­seille was con­firmed this month as part of the 2018 For­mula One sea­son with a race on June 24. Ocon was only 10 years old when the last F1 Grand Prix was held in France at Magny-Cours in 2008, with Felipe Massa win­ning in a Fer­rari.

“This is re­ally one of the best bits of news of the year for me,” the 20 year old told a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

“I’ve al­ways dreamt of rac­ing at home, it’s a dream that will come true next year.”

Ocon, still search­ing for his maiden podium fin­ish in his sec­ond sea­son in the F1 fast lane, is ea­ger to ex­ploit his lo­cal knowl­edge.

“It’s a cir­cuit that I like, I’ve won there be­fore. We’ll feel at home, we know the area, ev­ery­one will be sup­port­ing us, it’s an ex­tra boost and an ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion.

“I’ve heard peo­ple say that you gain three tenths of a sec­ond per lap at home.”

Ocon is placed eighth in the 2017 driv­ers’ stand­ings on 35 points, with France’s other F1 driver Ro­main Gros­jean, in 14th for the Haas team.

The Paul Ri­card cir­cuit hosted 14 grands prix be­tween 1971 and 1990, when French four-time world cham­pion Alain Prost was vic­to­ri­ous.

Pa­trick Ko­varik / AFP

French driver Este­ban Ocon.

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