The Racing Point Force India F1 Team secured eight important points in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, with team principal Otmar Szafnauer feeling the team made the most of every opportunity that came their way at the Suzuka International Racing Course.
Both Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon made gains from their grid slots, with the Mexican climbing from ninth on the grid to finish seventh, while the Frenchman ended up ninth after starting down in eleventh after a grid penalty relegated him from eighth.
Szafnauer praised both drivers for having the fight to make crucial overtakes during the race, with Pérez’s move on Romain Grosjean for seventh just after the end of the Virtual Safety Car in particular being singled out.
“I think we made the most of our opportunities this afternoon,” said Szafnauer. “We had to fight all the way to the flag to score eight important points.
“Our strategy required both cars to pull off various overtaking moves to come back through the field, but it worked out well. Sergio made a fantastic move on Grosjean to finish as the ‘best of the rest’ “.
Szafnauer was pleased with the recovery drive from both Pérez and Ocon, and the performance they unlocked in the VJM11 bodes well for the rest of the season as they aim to finish as high up in the Constructors’ Championship as they can after having their points reset ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix after the team was bought out by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll.
The current incarnation of Force India currently sits seventh in the standings after scoring forty-three points in five races and are now only fifteen points behind the sixth-placed McLaren F1 Team.
“Considering our starting positions, we recovered well today and the team did an excellent job with the strategy calls,” said Szafnauer. “We have unlocked some significant performance recently and we just need to keep up this points-scoring momentum in the final few races.”