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Motorsport

Ocon: Miami F1 eighth place "like a victory" from back of grid

The Alpine driver took added satisfaction from the fact that he felt only "50%" physically after his heavy crash in FP3 on Saturday.

The 51G impact into a concrete wall meant that he had to miss qualifying, and was thus obliged to start from the back of the grid after the team built up the spare chassis.

He gained two places as both Aston Martins had to start from the pitlane, and then he steadily worked his way up the field with a long opening stint on the hard tyre.

He was able to make his change to soft tyres under the safety car and eventually finished ninth on the road, before gaining a spot from a penalty for Alpine team mate Fernando Alonso.

"I am delighted, I think it is a victory for us," he said when asked about his charge by Motorsport.com.

"There was clearly a mountain to climb for all of us, but I think from the strategy to the radio calls, the tyre management, everything was perfect today. And to end up in the points being 50% physically as well, for me it's like a win.

"It is a different challenge for sure, it can go wrong, it can go right. Today it went right. But it's not very enjoyable as I said to race being 50% physically. It's as hard as Singapore here in terms of humidity and heat."

Ocon started at the back of the Miami GP (Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images)

The decision to start on the hards paid off for the Frenchman, as it did for George Russell.

"We knew what we had to do," said Ocon. "We wanted to go very long with the hards, we wanted to get this tyre to last long, so I was managing quite a bit at the start.

"It was harder than expected, I thought the tyre was never going to switch on to be fair, but it did, so that was good. We were not very fast at the start, and then the pace increased slowly, slowly, and we became very quick in comparison to the other cars."

Ocon admitted that he was still feeling sore after Saturday's accident.

He added: "I have to say a big thank you to the boys, because everything was broken in the car yesterday. I just checked this morning. The seat is in pieces. The pedal box is completely broken, the throttle, the brakes, it's broken, and the chassis, obviously.

"It was a big impact, obviously I feel 50% today. But we've made it, and it shows also that we are doing a good job physically."

Asked about the specific after effects of the crash, he replied: "The knees mainly, lower back, little bit of bruises here and there on the heels. It was 51 G, so pretty painful."

Ocon was also a witness to the collision between Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel late in the race, which happened as the three drivers were battling. After the flag he talked to the Haas driver in parc ferme.

"Obviously we were fighting all three together, there were big tyre deltas, Mick was on a 30 lap old tyre, Seb was like nine, I was on a newer set of softs, so we were all fighting very closely. Obviously these things happen, not my topic to comment.

"We discussed it, but Mick knows well what he has to do, he is an F1 driver, he has a lot of talent, he doesn't need my advice at all."

Ocon noted that the controversial track surface contributed to the collision: "We heard before coming here that these stones from Georgia they are the best in the world, it's one of the best tarmacs in the world. It's a disaster, we cannot overtake.

"Mick touched with Seb partly because of that, because you cannot do a dive on the inside of anybody, and when you go offline you lose half a second.

"There was only one line, it's not working at all. We should go to a tarmac like Jeddah, I think this is perfect."