Force India secured six valuable points in Abu Dhabi today as Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta finished the penultimate race of the season in eighth and ninth place respectively.
The result means that the team are now fifteen points ahead of Sauber in the constructors’ championship and have almost certainly wrapped up sixth place.
“Today's result is great for the team and just what we needed,” commented Sutil. “Initially we were planning to do a one-stop race, but the team took the decision to switch to a two-stop strategy because the soft tyre did not last as long as we thought it would. So it was a good call by the team to make the change.
“I spent a lot of the race fighting with Schumacher and managed to get ahead of him for the middle stint. But I probably went one lap too long in the middle stint and he got ahead of me when we were both on the medium tyre at the end of the race. I was close behind him, but we had similar pace and I couldn't get back ahead. Still, we came here to pick up points with both cars, and that's what we've done. It puts us in a very strong position for the final race.”
Di Resta was the only driver to try a one-stop strategy today, which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best idea.
“I think as a team we can be pleased to have come away with a double points finish having run different strategies with both cars,” said the Scot. “With hindsight my one-stop race was not the optimum strategy, but we felt it was worth a try. As it turned out the performance of the medium was not great to begin with so the first 30 laps were quite hard work.
“I had a good fight with Buemi in the early laps and I think we were quite lucky that he retired, which made my race a bit easier. When I switched to the softs the speed of the car was very strong.
“To do a one-stop race and come away with two points is as much as we could really hope for. It's what we need for our fight in the championship and hopefully we can arrive in Brazil and carry on where we left off.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya praised both his drivers and the wider team after this result. “We came here determined to deliver a strong result and we've come away with six important points to consolidate our sixth place in the constructors' championship,” he said. “Both drivers drove faultless races, splitting the strategies and covering all the options. So I'm very pleased with our performance as a team, which puts us in a much stronger position with 15 points advantage over our nearest competitor. I feel confident that we can go to Brazil to finish the job and confirm our sixth place in the championship.”