Top 10 F1 drivers of 2017
OCON WAS NOT DEFINITIVELY better than Perez, but gets the nod in this ranking because of just how close he came. To be within 0.075% of Perez’s qualifying pace throughout the year, and to fall just 13 points shy of Perez’s points total, was a truly outstanding effort for a driver of Ocon’s inexperience.
Ocon slotted in at Force India so seamlessly, and was so accomplished, that it was easy to forget he’d started only nine grands prix before this season got under way. Remember, this was Perez’s seventh year in F1, his fourth with Force India, and he’s contested well over 100 races in that time.
The early part of the year was tough, as Ocon found his feet, but his progress massively impressed the team. And once back on circuits at which he drove his part-season with Manor in 2016, Ocon evened out the qualifying battle, pretty much matched Perez point for point, and was narrowly the faster Force India driver after the August break.
If Ocon continues this rate of development, he will surely become a serious contender for a works Mercedes drive in 2019.