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Esteban Ocon confirms he will race at Canadian Grand Prix and ‘saddened’ by

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Esteban Ocon has confirmed he will race at next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix and says he is “saddened by the abuse” he received after colliding with Alpine team-mate Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ocon was given a five-place grid penalty for the F1 race in Montreal due to causing the first-lap collision with Gasly, which saw him also have to retire from the Monaco GP due to the damage.

In a lengthy statement on social media on Friday, Ocon said: “Much has been said in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix. While I have received many messages of support, I have been deeply saddened by the amount of abuse and negativity that I have received online regarding my character, my driving, and my career.

“Thanks to the hard work, support, and sacrifices of many people, I’ve raced in over 140 Grands Prix so far since my debut in 2016. I have always been a tough competitor, and, like most drivers, I’ve had my share of incidents.

“I have been lucky to race alongside talented and experienced team-mates, including race winners Daniel [Ricciardo]Czech [Sergio Perez] and Pierre, and a double champion in Fernando [Alonso].

“As team-mates, we would often start races very close to each other which in some cases meant some tough battles on track, and sometimes contact.

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Esteban Ocon says his car sustained too much damage after his clash with team-mate Pierre Gasly at Monaco.

“Of course, I have made honest mistakes. We are not robots; we are athletes pushing ourselves to the limit every day to achieve our dreams of winning races. F1 is a sport where emotions run high, and passions run deep.

“I see and feel this every weekend at the track and on social media… the good and the bad. But the misinformed statements and gross distortions that I have seen online in recent days about my ability to work with a team have been inaccurate, hurtful, and damaging.

“Since my first laps in motorsport, I have approached this sport with humility, professionalism, and respect. These values were instilled in me from a very young age.

“While each driver chases individual glory, this will always be a team sport first and foremost. I have always followed the instructions I have been given and raced to achieve the maximum for and with my team.

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Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was upset with team-mate Esteban Ocon following their collision on the first lap in Monaco.

“I took responsibility for the incident on lap 1 last Sunday and, despite my DNF, I am glad the team added a point to the tally in what has been a difficult start to the season for all of us.

“I respect Pierre as a team-mate and as a competitor. We have always worked collaboratively and professionally inside the team, and this will continue to be the case.

“There is no reward without risk in Formula 1 – and race starts are intense, even more so in Monaco where the opening lap can dictate your finishing result.

“In the end, we are all competitors and hard, fair racing throughout the field is what makes our sport so great and the main reason why I love this sport so much.”

He finished: “I’m looking forward to competing in Montreal, in front of the fantastic Canadian fans, and to the exciting opportunities the future holds.”

More to follow…

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