Interlagos, 13 Nov 2016: Sahara Force India scored 18 points in today’s Brazilian Grand Prix with Sergio Perez racing to fourth place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in seventh. The Indian outfit is heading to a historic fourth place with 163 points, with just a race to go at Abu Dhabi. After this race they increased the lead over fifth-placed Williams F1 team to 27 points with Willams garnering only 136 points. Except in China, Russia and Austria, Sahara Force India scored points in every GP held this year and are hoping to finish on a high at the last race of the year in the Desert even as Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Rosberg fight for the championship with Rosberg having a better chance, as he had to finish just on the podium.
Sergio Perez, who is staying back in the team for 2017, has logged 97 points this year, compared to German Nico Hulkenberg’s 66. The German would be leaving the team and rookie Esteban Okon will take his place.
P4 Sergio Perez VJM09-02
Tyre strategy: New Wet (20 laps) – New Wet (8 laps) – Used Wet (43 laps)
Sergio: “What a fun but tense race today! It’s a shame to lose a podium place in the last two laps, but Max [Verstappen] just had a different pace: he was the fastest on track and there was nothing I could do to keep him behind. Even though I am a bit disappointed, we can still celebrate a great race and an incredible result, especially considering the conditions we had out there today. Just getting to the finish line on a day like this feels like a victory, and to bring home fourth is a very important result. It was so easy to make mistakes; you risked aquaplaning at any moment – every time I crossed the finish line I had a breath of relief. It’s a big result, not only for me, but also for the team as it brings us important points for the battle for fourth place. A lot can still happen in Abu Dhabi, but we can be happy about this result.”
P7 Nico Hülkenberg VJM09-03
Tyre strategy: New Wet (20 laps) – New Wet (2 laps) – Used Wet (6 laps) – Used Wet (43 laps)
Nico: “That was an intense race and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry because I think a possible podium slipped away today. I had great confidence in the car, felt comfortable and I had the pace to push and overtake. There were some scary moments in the race, especially when Kimi crashed in front of me. Some of his debris hit my car and caused a lot of damage. At least I survived that, but then I picked up a puncture from the debris, which was so frustrating because it dropped me down to the back of the field. Without the puncture, who knows where I might have finished? I’m happy and proud of myself and the team. We did a great job, but we were just missing a bit of luck.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“What an exciting race! To come away with 18 points from such a challenging race is a fantastic reward for an excellent job by the entire team. Both drivers didn’t put a wheel wrong and the decisions from the pit wall were spot on. Sergio came within a whisker of another podium and thoroughly deserved fourth place. For Nico to recover from the puncture to finish seventh showed his class once again and made us all wonder what might have been because he was running in fourth when the puncture struck. With such difficult track conditions, just getting both cars to the finish is a victory and to have both in the points takes us a good step closer to achieving fourth place in the constructors’ championship.”
eom/SFI press release