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Esteban Ocon responds to online abuse and says he will race in Canada

Esteban Ocon was handed a five-place grid penalty for Montreal
Esteban Ocon was handed a five-place grid penalty for MontrealReuters
Esteban Ocon (27) confirmed he would race in next week's Canadian Grand Prix and said he was "deeply saddened" by online abuse directed at him since a collision with Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly (28) in Monaco last weekend.

The first lap coming together ended Ocon's race on Sunday and the Frenchman was also handed a five-place grid penalty for Montreal.

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin told reporters in Monaco that Ocon would face "appropriate consequences", which some interpreted as the Formula One driver being dropped for the ninth race of the season.

"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," Ocon said in a statement on X on Friday.

Ocon, who has started 141 races but is out of contract at the end of the season, said he had raced alongside multiple race winners with some tough battles and occasional contact.

"Of course I have made honest mistakes. We are not robots," he added.

"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."

Ocon said he had always followed instructions and raced to achieve the best for his team. He took responsibility for Sunday's accident and respected compatriot Gasly as a competitor and teammate.

"We have always worked collaboratively and professionally inside the team and this will continue to be the case," he added.

"I'm looking forward to competing in Montreal, in front of the fantastic Canadian fans, and to the exciting opportunities the future holds."

Renault-owned Alpine have had a tough season, so far collecting only two points and languishing ninth of the 10 teams.

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