F1 Japanese Grand Prix tussle with Lewis Hamilton reminded Esteban Ocon of 'karting battle' days

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon enjoyed his tussle with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton for fourth place at the Japanese Grand Prix and said it reminded him of their karting battle days.

Ocon was continually under attack from Hamilton in the restarted, rain-shortened race but was able to defend his fourth-place despite the seven-time world champion being in his slipstream numerous times to eventually cross the finish-line half a second ahead of the Mercedes.

When asked about the 'wet and wild' Suzuka race, Ocon said: "It's very good that we've scored that many points. It was looking like we had nothing in the beginning, you know - there was no racing, the weather was really bad.

"Eventually, [the rainfall] reduced. I was still not confident that we would be able to go [racing again], but the track did clear quite quickly and it was good to finally get going," Ocon said.

"From there on, the fighting with Lewis, I enjoyed it a lot - it was a lot of fun.

"It was a bit of a karting battle, trying different lines; not one corner [was] I not watching my mirrors! It was definitely good fun [and] I'm very happy with the outcome."

The Japan result was great for Alpine points-wise, as Ocon's teammate Fernando Alonso claimed seventh to bring the team a total of 18 points - which puts them P4 in the constructors' standings, 13 points ahead of McLaren with four races remaining.

Ocon was proud of the teams overall improved showing at Suzuka, and said: "It's been great. It was only a matter of time until we could really show what the car was capable of, and I think finally we've done it.

"We brought the update to Singapore, it was not really working, [at] Monza we had issues. But when we are [there] in the end, it is there," Ocon added.

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