Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says his team should celebrate the manner in which it scored its latest podium at the Grand Prix of Europe.
Sergio Perez finished third in Baku to secure his second podium in three races, and his fourth since joining Force India at the start of 2014. Perez inherited third place in last year's Russian Grand Prix when Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen collided on the final lap, while in Monaco this year a good strategy promoted him to third in a wet-dry race.
In Baku, Perez climbed through the field from seventh on the grid - having originally qualified second before receiving a gearbox penalty - and with no retirements ahead of him it was outright pace which secured the podium.
Asked if he expected the one-lap pace to translate into such a strong race showing, Fernley told F1i: "I did actually.
"I think that it’s very rewarding when you take a podium on merit. That wasn’t anybody giving us anything, if anything we almost tripped ourselves up. So to be able to dig deep and show the pace of the car and get back into a podium positions I thought was a tremendous effort from the team and obviously Sergio as well.”
And while Fernley was pleased by the way Perez managed to keep Lewis Hamilton at bay early in the race, he believes it would have been a tall order to do so until the finish if Hamilton had not been suffering with a power unit settings problem.
“Yeah I think we kept him behind when the car was working and then obviously when it didn’t work it helped us. I wouldn't think we’d like to have Lewis behind us for 30 laps!”