Austrian GP double-points finish “a really positive day” for Force India – Pérez

by James Eagles
Sergio Pérez - 2018 Austrian GP - Formula 1

Sergio Pérez said that the Sahara Force India F1 Team‘s first double-points finish of the 2018 championship marked “a positive day” for the team.

Pérez managed seventh, one place behind team-mate Esteban Ocon, ensuring that Force India moved within two points of the McLaren F1 Team and seven behind the fifth-placed Haas F1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship after nine rounds, heading into the team’s effective home race at the Silverstone International Circuit.

Force India put their lowly qualifying positions – eleventh for Ocon, seventeenth for Pérez – down to a delayed upgrade package, planned to be ready for Austria, the Mexican noting that the run-up to the race had been “quite challenging”.

“It’s been a really positive day for the team,” beamed Pérez.

“We have come away with important points from a weekend that was quite challenging in the lead up to the race. Starting from P15 on the grid and finishing seventh is a great effort and we should be proud of this achievement.”

Pérez admitted that Force India took advantage of an unusually abrasive race that saw Nico Hülkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton all retire with mechanical issues ahead of them. However, he praised the team’s efforts to make their different strategy work – Pérez did not made his pitstop under the Virtual Safety Car for Bottas’s retirement.

Pitting on lap 27, the Mexican did not struggle with extreme rear blistering like many of his rivals. Although, Pérez told of his disappointment in being unable to chase down fifth placed Kevin Magnussen in tandem with Ocon.

“Yes, there were some cars that retired ahead of us, but we raced well and made our strategy work so that we could take advantage of these opportunities,” he explained.

“We didn’t pit under the Virtual Safety Car, like many others did, but the strategy we chose worked really well and I had strong pace all afternoon, especially in the closing laps. I wanted to chase down Magnussen at the end, but it just wasn’t possible.”

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