Formula 1

Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer: “Fifth and sixth places were there for the taking”

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Esteban Ocon - Racing Point Force India F1 Team - Sochi Autodrom
Credit: Racing Point Force India F1 Team

Otmar Szafnauer felt the Racing Point Force India F1 Team could not maximise their performance when it mattered during Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Team Principal of the Silverstone-based team feeling fifth and sixth on the grid was a realistic target, particularly with both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing drivers starting at the back following engine change penalties.

Esteban Ocon will start sixth on the grid at the Sochi Autodrom after being pipped to fifth late on by Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen, while Sergio Pérez was eighth, and although Szafnauer says it was a good effort by the team to qualify where they did, a third row lock out was a definite possibility.

“In the lead up to qualifying we felt we had the fourth fastest car, but we didn’t quite maximise our performance when it mattered during qualifying,” said Szafnauer.  “Fifth and sixth places were there for the taking, but we’ve had to settle for sixth and eighth, which is still a good effort.”

After seeing the team fail to score a point in the Singapore Grand Prix two weeks ago, Szafnauer knows the importance of bringing both cars home inside the top ten and aiding their aim of moving as far up the Constructors’ Championship as possible in the remaining six races of 2018.

“The challenge now is bringing home the result and making the Hypersoft work during the opening part of the race,” added Szafnauer.  “The priority tomorrow is to have a clean race, bring both cars home and collect some important points.”

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