F1 »

Fisichella and Force India pleased to be 'racing' again after Bahrain boost

Giancarlo Fisichella was full of praise for Force India's progress after the Bahrain Grand Prix at the weekend, claiming that the Silverstone-based minnows are now firmly 'racing' again after duelling it out with a Red Bull, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari in the desert kingdom.

Despite a low-key qualifying showing, the veteran Italian put all of his 13 seasons' experience in Formula 1 to good use as he gained four spots on the first lap and ran as high as twelfth place during the opening stint. He later broke into the top ten as he engaged in entertaining tussles with Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and Nelsinho Piquet, before discomfort inside the cockpit of his Mercedes-powered VJM02 caused the 36-year-old to drop back later on and cede position to the Ferrari of the recovering Felipe Massa – though not, it must be noted, without a fight.

“It was a really tough race,” the three-time grand prix-winner confessed of his impressive performance en route to 15th at the chequered flag. “The temperatures were the hottest we've had this year, and I was really in some pain in the closing stages as my seat was rubbing against my right hip. By the end it was very badly bruised.

“All the same, I think the first part of the race was very strong and I could race with Webber and Kovalainen and then Piquet. In the final laps Massa got past and there was a little contact. I think 15th isn't too bad – we are racing again and I think we can be pleased with the overall weekend performance.”

Team-mate Adrian Sutil – Saturday's qualifying 'villain' for having impeded Webber on his final flying lap in Q1 and inadvertently knocked the Australian out of contention – crossed the finish line just over two seconds adrift of Fisichella at the close, after similarly gaining ground in the early laps to run 14th, and as high as eleventh by the time he came in for his first pit-stop on lap 23. The young German later went on to stave off Scuderia Toro Rosso rookie Sébastien Buemi to the end.

“It was a long race, very tough and the temperatures were very high,” the 26-year-old acknowledged of the physically gruelling encounter. “Everything was on the limit – the car and myself – but actually it was a very consistent race.

“At the start I lost three positions on the first lap as [Kazuki] Nakajima drove into my car. That was a shame, but it was a good race from that point with good pit-stops and another finish that keeps the team's good finishing record so far this year. The new upgrades have put us firmly back in the midfield, and we can look forward to Barcelona now where we have some more upgrades coming.”

Indeed, it was an extremely solid midfield showing from the traditional tail-enders in Sakhir, and re-affirmed the steps forward Force India has taken of late, with Sutil's eye-catching drive a week previously in the downpour of Shanghai now looking less like a flash in the pan than it may have done at the time. FIF1 chairman and team principal Dr Vijay Mallya certainly believes there are a number of reasons for optimism.

“The team has made some very promising progress this weekend,” the Kingfisher Airlines billionaire underlined. “We've introduced a major new aero package that helped move us forward, and we raced fairly and squarely in the midfield. Both drivers yet again had very solid races, which shows we have a good foundation for future updates. We can now look forward to Spain and the start of the European season to continue this good form.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India VJM02, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 24-26th, April, 2009
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13 race winner

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

manny - Unregistered

April 28, 2009 10:52 PM

Spot on Alex C. Seems like some teams are real slow when it comes to answering simple questions like that. Toyota hung on to Ralf for years and years and paid him the second-highest salary in F1, when a 10-year old could easily have told them he was crap. They eventually worked it out themselves. Nothing against Fisi personally, but maybe FI will soon work out his time is up.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.