Force India’s Robert Fernley: “Seven points is a fantastic reward”

Robert Fernley was happy to see Sergio Perez (pictured) claim P7 in Australia with Esteban Ocon tenth - Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

Robert Fernley felt everyone within the Sahara Force India F1 Team could be proud of their performance during the season opening Australian Grand Prix after both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished inside the points on Sunday.

Both drivers started outside the top ten but both drivers moved up four positions from their grid slots, Perez from eleventh to seventh and Ocon from fourteenth to tenth, and Deputy Team Principal Fernley believes both drivers and those on the pit wall did great throughout the 57-lap race.

Perez enjoyed a strong race and battles with both of the Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers during the afternoon, while Ocon fought superbly against Fernando Alonso in a battle he ultimately won with just six laps remaining.

“To come away from the first race of the year with seven points is a fantastic reward for all the hard work over the winter and this weekend,” said Fernley. “Sergio’s race was a typical battling performance as he made some opportunistic moves on both Toro Rosso cars, which proved crucial for his end result.

“We made some excellent calls with the strategy too, with our early pit stops proving the right way to go. Esteban also delivered a fantastic drive and everyone in the team was delighted to see him score his first point in Formula One.

“His race-long fight with Fernando Alonso was one of the big stories of the race and seeing Esteban overtake with just six laps to go was great entertainment for the fans.”

Fernley felt the double points finish was a positive way to start the new season and feels that there is still performance to come from the VJM10, with the hope that they can build on this result in two weeks time in the Chinese Grand Prix.

“Starting the season with a good bunch of points is always an important boost for the team and shows we have good reliability too,” said Fernley. “We know there is more performance to come, but we’ve started with our best foot forward and will head to Shanghai determined to build on these results.”