The Frenchman was the champion of the European F3 in 2014 and Verstappen third

Esteban remembers the start of his rivalry in karting

Esteban Ocon remembers the 2014 season with a bittersweet flavor, because despite being the champion of the European F3, the ‘call’ of Formula 1 came for Max Verstappen, which was somewhat difficult to swallow and digest.

It should be remembered that the Frenchman was the great dominator of the European F3 that year, but the Dutchman burst into the category without hesitation and, after getting third place in the championship, promoted to F1 with Toro Rosso. For Ocon, it was difficult to assume, especially since his future was not assured.

“I won the Formula 3 title, but for me the difficult moment came when Max signed an agreement to compete in Formula 1. Good for him, definitely, but when I saw the news it was difficult to digest. He was third in the championship; I I was winning and I didn’t have a seat in any category at the time. ”

“I did some testing in GP2, but nothing was really confirmed. The Lotus junior program was struggling at the time and was not going anywhere, so it was quite a challenging time,” Ocon said in a column for the Formula 1.

On the other hand, the French driver has recalled the beginnings of his rivalry with Max Verstappen, when they gave absolutely everything in karting.

“I think the first time I ran with Max Verstappen was in 2010. It was a difficult year for me to make the transition to international racing. Karting is very tough anyway. I was alone with my father fighting against the big teams.” .

“Max and I were always very close on the track, sometimes too much! In 2011 we were fighting for the world series championship and in the end he won. I remember that in a race in Italy I came first, but he and I were very ahead of the rest. It was a rivalry that started then, and soon grew even bigger, “said Ocon to conclude.

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