Force India has slashed the gap to Williams in the brewing fight for fourth in the Formula 1 constructors' standings after ascending performances by both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg at the British Grand Prix.
Running eighth and tenth initially following the Safety Car restart, Perez was a big beneficiary in the opening laps when his decision to stay out longer on full wet tyres before switching to intermediates was assisted by a conveniently timed Virtual Safety Car period.
Lifting him as high as fourth at one stage, though he would lose out to Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen to finish sixth – having suffered a wild half-spin at the treacherous Turn 1 along the way -, Perez would still pick up his third top six finish of the year, much to his delight.
“It's a very good result for the team, with two cars in the points, even if I feel I could have kept fifth place without that spin at turn one. When I had that moment I thought my race was over, but I managed to save it. However, I flat-spotted my tyres and that hurt me for the rest of the race in terms of degradation.
“I pushed hard to try and keep Raikkonen behind, and it was only when he passed me that I was able to take it easy and save the tyres. We had to do a very long stint on the mediums, which was a bit of a risk as degradation was quite high, but the team made the right calls at the right time and it paid off in the end. The conditions, especially in the first part of the race, were very tricky.
“You had a drying line, but as soon as you put a wheel on the damp parts, all the grip was gone. Just keeping the car facing in the right direction was an achievement. To come away with this many points after a weekend in which I hadn't been very comfortable with the car is a big satisfaction and it makes up for the disappointment of last week.”
With team-mate Hulkenberg following home in seventh position, the 14 point haul on a day when Williams failed to score has seen Force India reduce the gap to the fourth place team to 19 points.