Force India 'makes most of opportunities' for more points

Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point Force India F1 VJM11.
© XPB 

Force India continued its campaign to move back up the constructors standings, with another double points finish this weekend in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Seventh place for Sergio Perez and ninth for Esteban Ocon mean the team picked up a total of eight points in Suzuka, closing the gap to McLaren which failed to score anything at all on Sunday.

“I think we made the most of our opportunities this afternoon," said team principal Otmar Szafnauer. "We had to fight all the way to the flag to score eight important points."

The team had to overcome disappointing starting positions, with Perez lining up in ninth and Ocon down in 11th after being handed a three-place penalty for an infraction in final practice.

"Considering our starting positions, we recovered well today and the team did an excellent job with the strategy calls," said Szafnauer.

"Our strategy required both cars to pull off various overtaking moves to come back through the field, but it worked out well."

He pointed to a bold move by Perez on one of the Haas cars as one of the highlights of the race. "Sergio made a fantastic move on [Romain] Grosjean to finish as the ‘best of the rest’."

Even so, Force India remains a long way off the coveted fourth place in the constructors championship. The team was stripped of its points for the first 11 races of the year following the takeover that saved it from administration over the summer.

"We're just trying to maximise race after race," insisted Perez. "I've always said, for me in the back of my mind P4 in the constructors is what matters and we just want to extend and claim as many positions as possible.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point Force India F1 VJM11 on the grid.

"We felt that last weekend we didn't maximise our performance, today we're happy with it," he continued. "Hopefully the next race is going to be even better and try to score as many points as possible.

"I feel we really got the maximum from the race, our pace was strong and the team delivered a great strategy," he added.

"I am so excited about our performance today. We had to push hard and make some good overtakes: it was a fantastic race."

By comparison, Ocon was less happy with how things had gone for him in the race, having come into the weekend hoping for more than ninth.

“The team scored some good points today, but I’m not totally happy because our final result was dictated by the penalty yesterday," he admitted.

"We have shown great speed all weekend – as the fourth quickest team – but if we don’t start higher up it’s difficult to show it in the race.

"There were some fun moments today and I had to make a lot of overtaking moves. When you had fresh tyres there was a big pace advantage and our strategy paid off in the end."

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