Esteban Ocon almost saw his impressive charge to sixth place at the United States Grand Prix over before it even began after his Force India had an issue with a control unit on the starting grid.

Having qualified seventh, only to be promoted to sixth after Max Verstappen’s engine penalty, the French driver was once again the best of the rest as he fended off Carlos Sainz Jr over the final half of the US GP to secure sixth place.

Ocon’s result saw him take the outright record of most consecutive F1 race finishes with his 26th time seeing the chequered flag, moving one ahead of previous record holder Max Chilton.

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However that record may have been in jeopardy after he sustained a problem with a control unit on his car on the grid in Austin but his Force India crew pulled off a smart repair job in time for the start.

“Before the race there was an issue on the grid with a control unit in my car, but the team did a really good job to make the repairs in time for the start,” Ocon said. “The car was strong today with good pace and it’s another race where we have come away feeling we achieved the maximum result that was possible.

“Sixth place feels very satisfying because it was not an easy race with so much pressure from Sainz in the final stages.

“I spent a big part of the race just managing my pace and looking after the tyres to make the one-stop strategy work. The team told me when to push and when to manage the pace, and to finish sixth shows we judged this almost perfectly.”

Ocon has once again closed the gap on Force India team-mate Sergio Perez in the F1 world championship with just 13 points splitting the pair in the battle for seventh place.

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This is his first season. How can he possibly have 26 F1-finishes already?

He drove 9 races for Manor before, so not his first season.