MONZA, Italy -- Just six days after his controversial collision with Force India teammate Sergio Perez in Belgium, Esteban Ocon found the perfect way to make amends -- with a career-best qualifying display.
Ocon qualified fifth in the torrential conditions at the end of Q3, which will become third on the Italian Grand Prix grid when the Red Bull drivers serve grid penalties.
When asked how he felt about the performance so soon after Belgium, which prompted Force India to publicly rebuke its drivers and confirm it will no longer be allowed to race freely, he said: "It's brilliant.
"We've been losing a lot of points and a potential good result in Spa. To bring that, it brings back hope. For the team it's great, hopefully we can bring that tomorrow."
Ocon had looked set for a front-row start alongside Lewis Hamilton, only for Williams' Lance Stroll to jump ahead in the closing minutes. The Frenchman suggests he could have found the lap time to beat Stroll's time.
"I am really happy with today. It's what the team deserves. They've been working so hard since the beginning of the season so to get this result is something special. So I am really happy with today, the balance of the car was great, the car was easy to drive. It's great.
"We managed to put a good lap together, not a perfect lap, I think there was a little bit more was possible. A big opportunity ahead of tomorrow. We have to keep our head down to bring that podium."