MX23RW : Tuesday, July 17 10:01:58

Esteban Ocon admits eyeing Mercedes future

Esteban Ocon admits that he is quietly eyeing a future at Mercedes.

Esteban Ocon has admitted that he is quietly eyeing a future at Mercedes.

The young Frenchman is currently at Force India, but he is backed by Mercedes.

According to RMC, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recently called the 21-year-old his "little gem".

"It's always cool to hear things like that from your boss," Ocon said.

However, when asked if he is eyeing Valtteri Bottas's place at Mercedes for 2019, Ocon insisted: "We'll see.

"For now I'm at Force India. But my career is managed by Mercedes so I am in very good hands. If I do very well, there will always be opportunities."

However, although fourth in the past two years, Force India had a mixed winter season and may no longer be leading the midfield.

"The car was well born but there is quite a bit of work to do, particularly at the beginning," Ocon admits.

"There are new pieces coming for the first race so it will be a really different car.

"It's difficult to know where we are, but in the 'long runs' we weren't far from Red Bull so that's encouraging. We'll see what happens in qualifying when it counts."

The 2018 season gets underway with the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

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