Ocon expects F1's fastest ever cars in 2020 after first day of testing

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Esteban Ocon expects the 2020 cars to be the fastest in Formula 1 history after his first impression of the new Renault.

Already, on the first day of testing the pace is incredible with Lewis Hamilton fastest with a 1m16.9s at the time of writing. That is 1.2s faster than Sebastian Vettel managed on Day 1 of the first test last year and only 0.7s slower than the quickest time across the eight days.

For Ocon, Wednesday also marked his full return to the grid at Renault after a season away and what started as a question comparing the RS20 to last year's Mercedes soon expanded.

"There are always differences," he said answering the initial question.

"But to be honest, the amount of grip there is this year already, I think if you take it in account the fastest lap time, we're already faster than the fastest lap time of last year first day.

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"So I think the cars are just evolving year-by-year. It's hard to compare, but the amount of grip I feel now I think I've never felt it before.

"I don't know if it's the track, but I drove on Monday in the filming day and yeah, it's impressive, those new cars, I have to say.

"I've never gone that fast in some corners before, so it feels good.

"It's definitely exciting because that's just going to go faster and faster. So we're going to probably break all the records of lap times I reckon this year."

One reason for the quick early pace is the reduced running this year, with only six days of testing compared to eight in 2019.

That means drivers can't just ease their way into their new rides, as Ocon particularly might want.

"You still you still have to push the car," he said. "We had a good chat with Cyril [Abiteboul] and Alain [Prost] about this.

"It's important that you push the car to have good references to have yourself ready, but also to have proper data because that's the way you're going to be able to improve the car.

"You can't have the compromise like that. You still have to push it like if there was more time and hopefully, there won't be mistakes.

"I tried to have the first feel. It's not true that I'm just not leaning on it yet. I'm driving, trying to get the rust off of me also.

"It's been some time since I properly drove a car, which means with somebody next to me and having references, etc.

"I'm just trying to get back up to speed and it's important to have decent lap times to be able to feel how the car reacts in the race condition or in the in the practice condition."

But as for his first impression of the new Renault, which features an all-black livery for this testing period.

"It's a good base that we are having at the moment," the Frenchman said.

"Sometimes when you step in cars and you think ah, there is an issue that you're trying to solve for the whole winter, there isn't any kind of that at the moment.

"So it feels pretty healthy, but it's only the first morning. We have to wait and see how this evolves during the test."