Mallya hails renewed momentum at Force India

After a problematic start to the 2018 season for Force India, team principal Vijay Mallya is happy to see the squad finally appear to pick up some momentum ahead of the halfway point in the current campaign.

Force India has taken fourth place in the constructors championship in the past two seasons. However this year it had slipped as low as seventh before gaining back a place at Silverstone last time out.

That was thanks to more points for both Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, who once again both managed to finish in the top ten in the British Grand Prix.

“We have been finding performance as a team with strong results in the last few races,” commented Ocon.

“I was happy to rescue a point last weekend in Silverstone after a big recovery,” added Perez.

“It’s been satisfying to get both cars in the points for the last two races,” agreed Mallya. “It’s what we need to do for our fight in the constructors’ championship.

“Germany marks the half way point in the season and it feels as though we have some momentum now,” he added.

A cash crunch meant that the team hadn’t been able to get on with its development programme at the start of the year to the extent that it had wanted.

But the improvement in form in recent races suggests that Force India is finally over the worst of it.

“The updates we introduced in Silverstone helped and there’s more performance to be unlocked,” agreed Mallya.

“We’ve been a bit unlucky in the first half of the season, especially getting caught up in first lap incidents,” he pointed out. “I think we are due a change in fortune.

“Scoring points in all of the remaining races is a realistic target, but I expect the midfield fight to get even closer in the races to come.”

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Esteban Ocon feeling good with P7 after 'really big fight'

Force India’s Esteban Ocon was tired but happy after a massive mid-field battle and a decent haul of points wrestled in Silverstone’s blistering heat on Sunday.

From tenth on the grid, Ocon gained a few spots in the opening mélée, keeping himself out of trouble thereafter while making the most of a one stop soft-to-medium tyre strategy.

The Frenchman did his best to reel in Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg while keeping the McLaren of Fernando Alonso from snapping at his heels during the race’s thrills and spills and multiple Safety Car periods.

Ultimately, the pink panther held his own sandwiched between the two drivers.

“I’m really happy with the result today. Seventh place feels good after such a difficult race,” said Ocon.

“The safety car didn’t make things easy because the tyres were cold at the restarts and it was not easy to keep Fernando and Kevin [Magnussen] behind me in the last few laps.

“I feel very tired mentally because it was a really big fight until the end. It’s important that we scored more points to add to the good points we picked up in Austria last week.

“The car is getting better and we are racing well so I have to say ‘thank you’ to the team for all their hard work. We keep pushing and the results are coming.”

©WRI

Visiting his team for the first time this season, Vijay Mallya was happy with the result achieved by Force India in its home race, but rued another first lap incident involving one of his cars.

“To score seven points in our home race feels good,” said Mallya.

“Esteban didn’t put a wheel out of place today and showed excellent racecraft to hold off the cars behind which had a tyre advantage.

“Sergio [Perez] dropped to last on lap one after spinning at the first corner, which proved costly.

“It’s the fifth time this year that one of our cars has suffered a first lap incident and it’s hurting us in the constructors’ championship.

“Despite the spin, Checo battled back, pushed hard, and overtook a lot of cars. To score the final point was a remarkable recovery drive.”

Perez lost the battle for tenth on the track to Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, but the Frenchman was demoted to 13th after the race when he was handed a five-second time penalty for a contact with the Mexican while attempting to overtake the Force India driver in the closing stages of the race.

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