Ocon ended the season with fewer points than team-mate Sergio Perez, but overall he had a small performance advantage for the majority of the season. His misjudgement in trying to battle with Raikkonen in
Baku explains the gap between the two in the championship.
Monaco perhaps epitomised what Ocon is capable of – he took what was not the fourth-fastest car to ‘Class B’ victory after a great qualifying lap that put him ahead of quicker machinery. There were plenty of other strong performances – Austria, Britain, Belgium, Italy, the USA; all stand out and ensured Mercedes sees Ocon as a legitimate contender to succeed Bottas. In fact, had the team taken its driver decision later, perhaps Ocon’s form might have changed the outcome.
There were a few careless moments beyond Baku. Losing his front wing on the first lap in Mexico and hitting Verstappen in Brazil were costly, leading to suspicions that he may have been trying a little too hard late on given his lack of a 2019 drive.
But ranged against that there was also some good sense at play, notably when he backed out of a potential move for the lead at the start at Spa that could have resulted in a collision.
It’s a travesty that Ocon will not be on the grid at the start of next season, but there is surely no doubt that he will be back in
Formula 1 soon enough. He is too good to be left on the sidelines and this must not be the end for him in F1.