Race - Austrian GP report: Force India Mercedes
Sahara Force India scored ten points in today’s Austrian Grand Prix with Sergio Perez racing to sixth place and Nico Hulkenberg finishing in ninth place. Sergio Perez also set the fastest lap of the race.
“Today we got a very positive result for the team, especially considering where we started the afternoon. When you start in 16th it is always going to be difficult to make up ground, but I had a very strong start and made up a good few positions. It was especially important to pass Jenson [Button] because he was on a similar strategy to mine: it was a key moment for my race. The strategy worked; we showed once more that we can manage the tyres well, and we had a very strong race pace, as we have had all year. It was nice to be in the lead for a while, although we obviously knew that the cars behind us were on a different strategy. The only regret is that without the grid penalty I would have been further up the grid, which would have made a big difference because we had the pace to fight for a podium today. It’s nice to be back in the points after two disappointing races: the car is improving and we are in good shape.”
“It was quite a tough afternoon and more difficult than I was expecting. Inside the car I was struggling with the balance quite a lot, which hurt our pace and also had an impact on the tyre wear. So I think it was just a general lack of pace which stopped me from being able to get a better result. Checo obviously had better race pace, even though he was on a different strategy, so we need to understand why that was the case. It’s good to continue picking up points and I had some good battles this afternoon, especially with Ricciardo on the final lap. I was fighting hard to keep him behind but he had a tyre advantage and I could not hold him off.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director
“All in all it’s encouraging to see both our cars come home in the points to maintain our fourth place in the championship. Checo’s race was particularly noteworthy when you consider that he started from P16. It was a very mature drive and he did a fantastic job of looking after the tyres and making an alternative strategy work. His pace was excellent, he set the fastest lap of the race, and he didn’t put a wheel wrong. The opening lap was the key to making the strategy work because he overtook five cars. Nico’s two-stop race followed a similar pattern to most of the frontrunners, but he struggled for outright pace on the soft tyres. He still picked up a couple of points – continuing his run of points in every race this year, which shows how consistent he has been. It sets us up nicely for the British Grand Prix where we will try and deliver another strong showing at our local track.”