Sahara Force India deputy team principal Robert Fernley felt the team experienced both the highs and the lows of motor racing during Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The race started with a low when Nico Hülkenberg retired after being clipped by Carlos Sainz Jr at the start that spun the German into the pit wall and into retirement, but the highs came at the end of the race when Sergio Perez claimed eighth place after making one set of Soft tyres last 36 laps.
Fernley felt Hülkenberg was just a victim of a Formula 1 start and refused to blame anyone for the incident, but he had a lot of praise for the way Perez managed his race and secured four points that put Force India back ahead of Williams in the Constructors’ Championship.
“It was a rollercoaster race for us tonight – starting with a low and ending on a brilliant high,” said Fernley. “Losing Nico before turn one was very bad luck and he was just the innocent victim of a Formula One start.
“Having made a sensational getaway, he was clipped on his left rear, which pushed him into the wall and caused some heavy damage to the car.
“The resulting Safety Car caused us to roll the dice with Sergio as he pitted at the end of lap one, switching from Ultrasoft tyres to Softs. From there we deployed a brave strategy, which saw Sergio execute what was effectively a one-stop race as he stretched his second set of soft tyres over a mammoth 36 laps.
“It was a brilliant team effort from everyone, with excellent decisions being made on the pit wall, and Sergio executing an almost impossible strategy. It was a close call on tyre life, but we pulled it off.
“Considering the bad luck we have encountered this weekend, it feels very sweet to pick up four points and move back into fourth place in the constructors’ championship.”