F1: Esteban Ocon Sets Down His Marker In Canada
Mercedes has two development drivers racing in F1 at the moment, Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber and Esteban Ocon at Force India.
Whilst Wehrlein has been highly rated by the F1 paddock for a while, Ocon has been less of a known quantity, despite competing in F3 against Max Verstappen and having a solid year as a test driver under his belt.
In Canada Ocon let the world know he had arrived, running a stunning race which could have ended in a podium, barring some team order controversy late in the race.
That's six point scoring finishes from seven races for the rookie. And whilst all have been impressive in their own way, Canada stands out for exactly that team order fiasco.
Ocon had put himself in a position where the team had to ask Checo Perez to move out of the way in order to allow Ocon to try and take Daniel Ricciardo's third position. Sergio refused, and in the end both cars were passed by Vettel's recovering Ferrari.
Still Ocon had made his point. Outgunning your highly rated team mate seven races into your rookie season gets people's attention.
The battle for Mercedes second seat next year just got really interesting. By my count the list of drivers with a shot at becoming Hamilton's team mate numbers five: Vettel, Bottas and Alonso seem the most likely candidates; but thanks to some impressive drives this season Wehrlein and, now, Ocon have worked themselves into the picture too.