Let's go East
17-year old Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam), the leader in the drivers’ standings, is one of the few drivers with previous experience at this track, albeit in a different single-seater category. Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing), one year younger and Ocon’s fiercest rival in the points’ standings, has never driven one mile at the track that was opened in 2012.
Nevertheless Verstappen doesn’t consider this as a disadvantage. He is quite optimistic going into season races number 19, 20 and 21. Most recently at the Norisring in Nuremberg, he made it quite clear that lack of track knowledge doesn’t stop him these days as he managed to win all three races and claimed two of the three pole positions as well. Thus, he extended his number of consecutive race wins to six, having already claimed all three winner’s trophies in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Spa-Francorchamps one week prior to the Norisring round.
Next to Ocon, Brit Jake Dennis (Carlin) is another driver to have raced at Moscow Raceway already. In 2013, he took part in both Russian races of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 with a fifth-place finish as his best result. Fellow Brit Jordan King (Carlin) raced in Formula Renault 2.0 at the Russian track two years ago with Esteban Ocon as one of his rivals.
Esteban Ocon had an impressive start of the 2014 season: the rookie driver managed to win five races in the first four events and scored another six podium finishes. Thus, he built up a huge lead in the drivers’ standings. During the last two race meetings, however, Dutchman Max Verstappen collected valuable championship points with six wins on the trot. In Russia, the battle of the two rookie drivers, who have made their mark on the season so far, goes into the eagerly-awaited next round.
Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam): “I know the Moscow circuit from my time in Formula Renault 2.0 and I have already been on the podium there once. I like to race at this circuit that has many corners, which is something that generally suits me. Overtaking is not very easy at this track, so once again, qualifying will be particularly important. After two meetings in which I didn’t score a single win, my goal is to change that in Russia. I am optimistic that I will be able to stop Max Verstappen’s winning streak in Moscow.”