Force India's 14-race points streak ends in Melbourne

Force India missed out on a Formula 1 points finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, bringing an end to a top 10 streak that stretched to 14 races.

Force India's 14-race points streak ends in Melbourne
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ and Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 battle
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11

Neither Sergio Perez nor Esteban Ocon was able to make much headways after a poor qualifying session, crossing the chequered flag in 11th and 12th place respectively in a race that saw only 15 finishers.

It was Force India’s first non-score since last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, where both Perez and Ocon had to make extra pitstops due to crashes or punctures.

Force India had brought a major upgrade to Melbourne, but drivers felt that it was simply not enough to guarantee a place inside the top 10.

“It was quite an unlucky weekend for us, but there are still positives to take from this race. We came close to bringing home a point although it was just out of reach,” said Perez.

“I was pushing throughout the whole race and especially chasing Sainz in the final laps. I got really close to him, but it wasn’t enough.

“Overtaking in Melbourne is very difficult – you could see the same with Bottas who couldn’t pass me during the first stint.

“The Virtual Safety Car also didn’t help us at all, but that’s just how things go sometimes. I am still happy with my performance and the job we did as a team.”

Ocon, who managed to overtake Williams’ Lance Stroll on the opening lap but had to give way to an out-of-position Valtteri Bottas, echoed Perez’s statements, saying Force India has its work cut out to return to points contention.

“Not an easy race today. It was very difficult to overtake and even though I managed to jump ahead of Lance [Stroll] on the first lap, everybody quickly spread out until the safety car,” he said.

“I had a fight with Bottas for a while and after the safety car restart I was close to making a move on Sergio. We certainly had better race pace compared to our qualifying pace, but we are just missing some performance to be up there in the top ten at the moment. “

Force India’s deputy team principal Robert Fernley, meanwhile, has vowed to return stronger at the next round in Bahrain, promising a further update to the VJM11 in two week’s time.

“We’re on a learning curve with the developments we introduced this weekend and there’s more in the pipeline for Bahrain,” he said.

“Both drivers drove well today, but the luck didn’t play into our hands with the timing of the safety car, for example.

“Following other cars closely was tough and Sergio was right on the tail of Sainz in the final few laps but there was no way to overtake. We will work hard to be stronger at the next race in Bahrain.

 
shares
comments
Haas blames lack of practice for pitstop blunders

Previous article

Haas blames lack of practice for pitstop blunders

Next article

Australian GP statistics: Vettel joins the '100 podiums club'

Australian GP statistics: Vettel joins the '100 podiums club'
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021