Force India Continue Sensational Form
In a Spanish Grand Prix that had massively different fortunes for teams and their drivers, Force India kept their cool to claim their fifth straight double points finish.
Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon profited from high-profile retirements to finish fourth and fifth. It is just the third time that Force India has placed both entries in the top-five in 176 events.
The team is the only one left on the grid to have a 100% record of scoring points with both drivers. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen succumbed to first lap contact, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas suffered a power unit failure.
Force India primarily spent the season calmly getting on with racing, and Ocon believes this is the key to the latest result.
“Sure, there were some circumstances on this afternoon that helped us, but you need to be ready to take the opportunities when they come your way,” Ocon said. “Once we had made it through the first lap chaos, we had the pace to easily keep ahead of all of the cars behind and we could manage our race. I feel we maximized what we could get out of it: the team are doing everything right at the moment, and that’s what makes us so strong. There’s still a lot we can achieve this year: we are always there when it counts, and the car is consistently fast. Scoring points every time we get out is what really matters.”
Verstappen’s retirement means Red Bull are now increasingly under threat from the team who finished fourth in 2016. Just 15 points came to them from Daniel Ricciardo’s third-place finish. The Austrian team is third in the Constructors’ Championship so far with just 72 points, just 19 clear.
Unless it can consistently find reliability and keeps out of danger on track, their lead could quickly disappear. As much as street tracks like Monaco can save them and reduce deficits, Force India will still be waiting to pounce. This season of rapid upgrades may even begin to lower the distance between the two as time goes on.
With Williams struggling in Spain outside the top-10, Lance Stroll still not scoring and Toro Rosso only collecting a few, the team could run away with fourth before the end of the year.
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