Paul di Resta was one of the drivers of the day after maximising a two-stop strategy to collect sixth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix, matching his best result in Formula 1.
The Scot cleverly managed his tyres throughout the race to come home just a couple of car lengths ahead of a fast-closing Fernando Alonso.
“The result today is massive for us,” said Di Resta. “The team did an amazing job all weekend, the strategy came together and the pit-stops were perfect.
“We knew it would be a big ask to make only two stops and it was a close run thing at the end because my tyres completely went away on the final lap. I had Fernando very close behind me, but I saved a bit of KERS coming out of the final corner and managed to stay ahead.
“Apart from that, the car has been awesome. So we go away from here as a very happy team with a few weeks to reflect on things and determined to arrive in Barcelona in fighting form.”
Nico Hulkenberg in the other Force India did not have such a good afternoon, and could only manage twelfth place after a poor start.
“I think my race was decided at the very start when I had some clutch issues and the anti-stall kicked in, which really compromised my getaway and dropped me right to the back of the pack,” said the German. “From then on it was a long, hard fight back through the field, and it was hard work coming through the traffic. I made it to P12, but there wasn't much more I could do. So a tough race for me, but great to see Paul pick up some points.”
It has been a difficult weekend for the team. After being caught up in the civil unrest that has been a constant source of discussion this week in Bahrain, and then choosing to withdraw from Free Practice 2 for safety reasons, this result will be very welcome.
“Considering everything that has gone on this week, I am delighted to see such a strong team performance in today's race,” said Robert Fernley, deputy team principal. “We took a brave call on the strategy with Paul, but it paid off, and having saved the tyres yesterday allowed us to push the two-stop window right to the limit.
“Once again Paul drove a superb race, lapping consistently and making the strategy work perfectly. This sixth place is well-deserved and matches his best result in Formula One.
“It's a shame that Nico was the victim of a clutch issue on the opening lap, otherwise I'm sure he would have been up there fighting for points as well.
“Before we leave Bahrain I want to pay tribute to the team once again and thank each and every one of them for helping make today's result possible.”