The Sahara Force India team did not have the best of Chinese Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez finishing eleventh while Nico Hulkenberg was forced to retire due to a technical issue early in the race.
Despite switching from his planned two-stop strategy to a three-stop strategy, Perez could not quite make it into the top ten, finishing just outside the points in eleventh, and rued being too far behind the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson to be able to pass the Swede for the final point.
“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.”
Team-mate Hulkenberg was disappointed to be the first retirement of the race, especially as Force India have prided themselves on being reliable in the last few seasons in Formula 1.
“It is disappointing to end the race early, especially considering our previous record of solid reliability,” said Hulkenberg.
“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. It is still too early to say what caused my retirement: the engineers are looking at the issue and still investigating. All we know at this stage is that I lost drive and had to park the car.”