"Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic." An aphorism which sounds as if it might have tripped from the tongue of an author of self-help manuals (it has: Robin Sharma, no less), but is no less astutely observed for being so. For Esteban Ocon it's a mantra to live by as he seeks to preserve the momentum of the season just passed, one in which he built from shaky foundations to a feisty maiden podium finish in the penultimate round.
Twelve months ago, the prevailing expectation was that the line-up of Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo at Renault was potentially the spiciest on the grid, given each had a history of on-track rancour with team-mates.
Ricciardo went to Renault after feeling the Red Bull love tilt inexorably in the direction of Max Verstappen, even after the clash between the two in Baku in 2018. At Racing Point, Ocon and Sergio Perez had formed possibly the least cuddly partnership since Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya at Williams in the mid-2000s - to the extent of being threatened with sanctions by the team if they carried on colliding. Ocon's nationality also offered the tantalising possibility of favouritism within the proudly French-flagged Renault organisation.