Esteban Ocon says he is relishing the chance to go wheel-to-wheel with Max Verstappen once again, following on from their infamous clash at the 2018 Brazilian GP.
Ocon has only raced once since a crazy race at Interlagos, which saw the Frenchman collide with a race-leading Verstappen while trying to unlap himself.
The crash ultimately cost Verstappen victory as Lewis Hamilton skated through the carnage to win, and the Dutchman’s fury was clear after the chequered flag as he sought out Ocon in the drivers’ weighing room and shoved him after a brief verbal altercation.
Ocon will return to the grid in 2020 with Renault and says there will be no issues between him and Verstappen.
“I’m happy to race all the drivers again,” Ocon told Le Figaro. “It is true that I fought my entire career with Max, but what happened in Brazil last year was a big, big thing on the outside but not so big on the inside.
“Despite what happened, we have respect for each other. The page has been turned. We will fight again on the track.”
Ocon spent 2019 as Mercedes‘ third driver, having come out as the loser of a wild driver merry-go-round the previous year, but says the chance to monitor world champion Lewis Hamilton at close quarters has already offered benefits.
“To follow his season from the inside was a big opportunity,” Ocon added. “Lewis has a very busy life, and the way he manages everything that contributes to his performance is impressive.
“Drivers are in constant demand, and working really efficiently is difficult. He has this ability to quickly get going and does not waste time to rest and prepare.
“In quiet moments, we talked for hours. He gave me a lot of advice that I have already used and that I will use with Renault. He is a model for many drivers.”