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Esteban Ocon believes that he can compete with Max Verstappen in the same machinery, insisting that this mentality is necessary to compete in Formula 1. 

Ocon has established himself as one of F1's more consistent drivers in recent seasons, producing solid results for Alpine. 

The Frenchman has given a good account of himself alongside teammate Fernando Alonso, who continues to perform at the highest level. 

Whilst Ocon can be pleased with his results in the last few seasons, there are still question marks about whether he can compete against the best in F1. 

In terms of age, Ocon is in the same generation of drivers as the likes of Verstappen and Sainz - but he is rarely compared to them.

The 26-year-old has never had the machinery to fight consistently at the front, but he made clear to the dutch outlet NOS that he would back himself in a duel against Verstappen:

"I am convinced that I could compete against Max with the same weapons. I have to be", soymotor quote him as saying.

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"If you do not believe in yourself, you have nothing to do in this sport. 

"I have a contract with Alpine until 2024, and we are growing a lot to close the gap to the rest...

"Max is a great representative of my generation, he is one of the greatest in F1 today.

"I am not here just to compete, and I continue to hope that we can close the gap."

Considering that Ocon competes in one of the most competitive arenas in the world, it is unsurprising that he perceives himself as capable of fighting with the best. 

Any driver in Formula 1 without this mentality and ambition - as Ocon himself mentioned - should question why they race in the first place. 

Still, Ocon is yet to prove that his abilities would hold up at the very front. 

With the 2023 season approaching, Ocon has the opportunity to demonstrate his calibre at Alpine and assert himself.