Sahara Force India regained fifth place in the team standings with their biggest points haul this Formula 1 season as Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth and seventh in the Italian Grand Prix here on Sunday.
Perez, who was passed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen towards the end of the 53-lap race for sixth place, regained his spot after Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes dramatically suffered an engine failure while running third. Nonetheless, it was yet another spirited drive from Perez, who had finished fifth in the last round at Spa.
The seventh place was a welcome result for Mexican’s teammate Hulkenberg, who suffered retirements in his last two outings.
The double points finish, Force India’s fourth of the season, fetched the team 14 points replacing Lotus at fifth spot. The Vijay Mallya-led squad now have 63 points, 13 more than Lotus.
Perez was satisfied with the outcome of the race. “I had a really enjoyable time today. I had very strong pace from the beginning to the end; I managed the tyre degradation well and I feel we got the maximum that was possible from the race,” he said.
“The first stint was fairly calm: I found myself in clean air and I managed to open a gap over the cars behind so I wasn’t under any pressure. After my pit stop, I knew Kimi was closing in behind me: he was really quick and there was nothing I could do to keep him behind any longer than I did.”
His teammate however said he a tough time on the track. “I finished the race feeling a little bit frustrated because we didn’t have the pace we know is possible. I actually think we had a problem with the car and it’s something we need to investigate because I was losing downforce, the car was sliding and the rear tyres were heating up too much, all of which really hurt my pace,” said Hulkenberg.