Force India F1's maiden grand prix points - earned with a podium finish no less - have earned plaudits from around the world, not least from fellow countryman Karun Chandhok, who's disappointing GP2 weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix was lightened by events in the F1 event.

The Indian, who continues to seek a way into the top flight, was effusive about the team's achievement in his Reuters column, celebrating Giancarlo Fisichella's unexpected second place at Spa

"Standing in the paddock and watching his body language, there was absolutely no doubt that this weekend was the most satisfying result he has had in his career," he wrote of the Italian veteran, "To qualify at the front and then race hard to earn a podium finish, less than a second behind one of the three world champions on the grid was a tremendous result for Fisi.

"But, more importantly, it was an absolutely monumental achievement for Force India. Apart from Brawn GP showing up at Melbourne and walking away with the first race of the year, this has to be the shock result of the season thus far.

"It's easy to forget that it was only two years ago that the team called Spyker was cemented on the back row of the grid, and to turn that around into a team getting a podium on merit in such a short space of time is hugely impressive. It really is a great testament to all the engineers, designers and people back at the factory, who have worked away on a smaller budget than most teams but have channelled their creativity in a very positive way."

Chandhok - who, if he succeeds in achieving his F1 dream, would be only second Indian to make it to F1 after Narain Karthikeyan - admitted that he was among those who had wondered if Fisichella had claimed pole position courtesy of a light fuel load, who then saw scepticism turn to excitement when they realised top spot was Force India's on merit.

"On Saturday night, a few of us went for a quiet dinner and [Force India team owner] Vijay [Mallya] asked me what I thought about the race the following day," Chandhok revealed, "I told him I reckoned third or fourth place was on because, clearly, [Kimi] Raikkonen and the KERS car were going to come through the pack, but also [Jarno] Trulli in the Toyota looked very quick... I was partly right. Trulli was out of contention after a first lap incident, but Kimi and the KERS-powered Ferrari would have been very hard to hold off, even without the safety car."

And the Indian is confident that Belgium won't be a one-off for Mallya's team, with the forthcoming Italian Grand Prix also likely to suit the VJM02.

"Monza next time out should be very good for them, as the team do seem to have fantastic straight-line speed - and Singapore after that should be reasonably good as well, as the team have always been competitive on street circuits," he reasoned.

"It's a great feelgood story. As humans, we love to see the underdogs succeed and it was fantastic to see the entire paddock appreciate the team's result. Points and podiums are worth a lot of prize money to the F1 teams and this will be very valuable for them."

Ironically, Fisichella's performance elevated his name among the list of those being rumoured as a potential replacement for the lacklustre Luca Badoer alongside Raikkonen at Ferrari. Much has been made about whether the Italian should seize the dream opportunity to be a part of the Scuderia in front of the tifosi, and Chandhok wasn't slow to make it known where his interest would lie - perhaps sending Mallya a hint in the process.

"[The Force India] is certainly a car I would love to drive in the next five races....," he admitted.


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