Force India scores first points of 2018 in Bahrain

Force India scored its first points of the 2018 Formula 1 season in the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Esteban Ocon finishing tenth.

Force India scores first points of 2018 in Bahrain
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 Mercedes, Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 Mercedes
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 pit stop
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 Mercedes, Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11 and Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37 battle
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 Mercedes

Ocon started eighth on the grid and gained two positions early on when the Red Bull duo retired with separate issues. However, the weaknesses of the VJM11 became evident soon and he lost three places in one corner on lap 4.

The Frenchman was initially committed to a one-stop strategy, but was forced to pit again on lap 35, putting him on the backfoot.

However, the fresher tyres allowed the Mercedes junior to overtake Renault’s Carlos Sainz two laps from the finish to steal the final championship point.

“It was a very tough race and there was never really a chance to catch my breath. I was always pushing, always fighting, always chasing,” Ocon said.

“We are right in the middle of the midfield fight and it was a nice reward to overtake Carlos [Sainz] with just two laps to go and score the final point. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get more from this race, especially starting from eighth place, but we did the best we could in the circumstances.

“The main positive to take from this weekend is the improvement we made compared to Melbourne. We need to keep working in the same direction to find more performance in China next week.”

Sergio Perez’s race was ruined on lap 1 when he was tagged by the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley, which dropped him to bottom of the pack and caused damage to his car.

He eventually wound up 16th after being hit by a 30-second penalty for not following the correct procedure on the formation lap.

“It feels like an opportunity lost because my race was effectively over on lap one,” he said. “We knew how important it was to stay out of trouble, but there was nothing I could do to avoid what happened.

“I made a pretty good start, but Brendon [Hartley] lost control of his car and spun me around. I had a lot of damage to the floor and that cost me performance for the rest of the race.

“Despite that, I nearly made it back into the points, but in the end there was no chance to do it. We can look at some positives: it was a fun race, with lots of battles and we are making progress with the car.

“I hope we can continue the good work and be quicker in China, where we will hopefully get more performance from our package.”

 

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