Tonio Liuzzi was left a happy man following the Bahrain Grand Prix after scoring his first points finish since the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix.
The Italian was left to carry the hopes of the Force India team after Adrian Sutil was knocked out of contention by an incident on the opening lap and produced a solid performance to run inside the top ten throughout – climbing as high as fourth prior to making his pit-stop.
Having taken the flag in ninth place – making him one of the two drivers to benefit from the new scoring system rewarding the top ten finishers – Liuzzi insisted it was a 'magic result' and the best the team could have hoped for from the season opener.
“I'm really pleased,” he said “We achieved our target and scored some points, which is a great result for myself and for the team. It was a difficult race as with this amount of fuel and the tyres, plus the heat, we had a bit to control but overall I think we can be pretty happy about how we handled it and to be in the points is magic.
“All the top teams finished ahead of us and there were no failures or reliability issues so it was the maximum we could have achieved. I'm now looking forward to Australia where we will get some more updates and it could put us in an even better position for the next race. Overall a great result for the team.”
Team boss Vijay Mallya declared himself delighted with a scoring start to the year and said he was sure Sutil would soon join Liuzzi in landing a top ten finish.
“What a great start to the season!” he said. “I am absolutely delighted that we have scored in the first race of the season. It was always our aim to score points and we knew we had the pace to do it, but nevertheless to finally get there gives a great feeling.
“Tonio drove a superb race, matching the pace of the top teams in front, and it is certainly encouraging for the coming races. Adrian was unlucky and I know he will be disappointed not to have been able to capitalise on his starting position, but the season is long and he is hungry so I do not think he will have to wait long for his turn.”