The Sahara Force India F1 Team secured a thirteenth two-car points finish of the season at the Suzuka International Racing Course, with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez claiming sixth and seventh on Sunday.
Ocon ran as high as third after a great start, but found himself shuffled down the pack as the faster runners came through the pack, with Daniel Ricciardo making an early pass on the Frenchman before the recovering Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen also got ahead.
The Frenchman then had Perez on his tail for the second half of the race, and although the Mexican requested to attack his team-mate, the pit wall denied him this opportunity, primarily due to the high profile clashes the duo have had in 2017, and he was forced to follow Ocon to the chequered flag.
Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley was full of praise for the whole team for the result, which further secures their fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, and he said making Perez holding position was decided to ensure as many points as possible.
“The entire team can be proud of our performance this weekend,” said Fernley. “We’ve had the fourth quickest car yet again and took the fight to the teams ahead of us.
“Esteban’s opening lap was magnificent as he muscled his way ahead of Ricciardo and ran as high as third in the early stages of the race.
“Sergio pretty much shadowed Esteban all afternoon and, once the pit stops were completed, we asked the drivers to hold station and bring home the points.
“We take further encouragement from the speed we have shown here, which has taken us a step closer to confirming fourth place in the championship.”