Force India "takes a lot of encouragement" from Monaco result
Otmar Szafnauer says Force India “takes a lot of encouragement” from its Monaco Grand Prix result, where it finished as the top midfield Formula 1 team.
After being hamstrung by correlation issues at the start of the season, Force India has made tangible progress in recent races to re-emerge as a regular points scorer.
At Monaco, a track that pays more emphasis on chassis strength rather than engine grunt, both VJM11 cars qualified inside the top 10 at the expense of some of the teams that sit higher in the standings.
The improved performance was evident in the race too, with Esteban Ocon finishing right on the tail of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri in sixth.
Teammate Sergio Perez had also looked set for a decent haul of points until a botched pitstop dropped him out of the top 10.
“Congratulations to the entire team on a well-deserved sixth place in Monaco,” Force India’s Chief Operating Officer Szafnauer said.
“Esteban did an excellent job all weekend and hasn’t put a wheel out of place. After his strong qualifying performance it was very satisfying to see him bring home eight points today with a very mature drive.
“It’s a shame that Sergio had an issue at the pit stop, which undoubtedly cost him the opportunity to finish inside the top ten. He showed good pace in the second half of the race but without track position it was hard to make it count.
“We take a lot of encouragement from out strong performance this weekend and will look to carry this momentum into Montreal in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Ocon was particularly impressed with his pace on supersoft tyres, which, at times, was better than ultrasoft-shod top teams.
“A fantastic result today. I’m really happy and it was great fun. The pace we had was impressive and the team did a fantastic job with the strategy,” the Frenchman said.
“We had a great understanding of the tyres and there were times during the race when we were the fastest car on track.
“In the final few laps I was catching Bottas and Raikkonen by over a second per lap and I was right behind them at the end.
“It feels great to get this result and a good bunch of points after a few disappointing races. I hope we can have many more weekends like this one.”
After six races, Force India stands sixth in the championship with a grand total of 26 points.
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