Force India: Clashes due to Ocon's inexperience, not Perez tensions

Esteban Ocon's clashes with Sergio Perez are more the result of his lack of experience in Formula 1 than a sign of growing tension between the drivers, reckons Force India

Force India: Clashes due to Ocon's inexperience, not Perez tensions

Ocon was left frustrated in the Canadian Grand Prix when Perez did not move over for him as they fought for a podium finish, and was further angered by a robust defence from Perez near the end of the race.

The pair then collided in the recent Azerbaijan GP after the second safety car period - damaging both cars and costing them the chance of a top-three finish.

Force India's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer denied that the incidents in consecutive grands prix were signs of tension mounting.

"I don't think we had trouble in Canada, it was nothing to do with the drivers," he said.

"But in Baku definitely, I just think Esteban needs a bit more experience.

"He is young, he hasn't done a lot of F1 races, and every time this kind of thing happens you learn.

"So he just needs to learn. It is that simple.

"[Nico] Hulkenberg [who Ocon replaced] has had 110-120 races, and Esteban less than 20."

Szafnauer believes that the relationship between Ocon and Perez is working well, and denied that Perez has become more aggressive because he is up against a young charger.

"He is handling himself no differently to when he was here with Hulkenberg," said Szafnauer.

"He is a great racing car driver, and the more Esteban pushes him, the more he will raise his level. I think he will get stronger.

"Esteban is very professional, easy to get on with, and the relationship is good between them.

"We just have to make sure that they don't run into each other, it is that simple.

"I've raced myself and I know when you are in the car, things like this are normal.

"You don't want to give way and if something like that happens, you do get fired up."

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