Force India will leave Shanghai International Circuit with mixed feelings after Sergio Perez narrowly missed out on points and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg retired with a gearbox issue during Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
With the new VJM08 still behind in terms of development, the Mexican had qualified a lowly 15th but fared better on race day, as shown by his on-track battles with the likes of Sauber, Toro Rosso, and Lotus en route to P11.
“We raced very hard today, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to come away with some points,” said Perez.
“With the strategy we looked at all the opportunities and switched to three stops quite early in the race, which was the right decision. I was able to push hard all the time with the aggressive strategy and fight with the cars ahead of me.”
“In the final part of the race I was catching Ericsson, but he was just too far ahead to make up the ground. We are still not where we want to be in terms of competitiveness, but there are definitely some positives to take because we made an improvement compared to our performance in Malaysia.”
Meanwhile, Hulkenberg enjoyed one of his customary strong start from P16 on the grid and was running on the outskirts of the points-paying positions when he was sidelined by a gearbox issue on Lap 10.
“It is disappointing to end the race early, especially considering our previous record of solid reliability,” said the 27-year-old German.
“It would have been interesting to see how our race would have developed because I made some good progress on the opening lap when I went around the outside of a few cars and then got a good run at Kvyat, which put me up in P12.
“We had the pace to keep up with the Toro Rossos and Saubers, so it was positive to see our pace being more competitive.”
Click here to look under the skin of the front-running 2015 cars