Force India has locked down fourth place in the F1 world constructors’ championship for the second successive season thanks to Esteban Ocon’s fifth place and Sergio Perez’s seventh place at the Mexican Grand Prix.

After avoiding the opening lap melee between Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel the Force India duo looked well set for another strong points finish, despite Lance Stroll splitting the pair in the Williams after the Virtual Safety Car period, but the haul of 16 points sees the Silverstone-based outfit move out of reach Williams in the fight for fourth place in the F1 world constructors’ championship with two races to spare.

Both drivers relished the feat, given the team’s smaller budget and operation against the likes of Williams and Renault, while Esteban Ocon felt a maiden F1 podium could have been possible at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“It’s a great day for the team. Fifth place in the race and securing fourth place in the championship is a fantastic achievement after a strong season,” Ocon said. “For a while I believed the podium was possible because I was sitting in third place for so long. Sadly the Virtual Safety Car gave Kimi an advantage during the pit stops and he was able to overtake us. When you work so hard for a result it feels very satisfying so I look forward to celebrating tonight.”

Perez, cheered on by the rapturous home fans, praised their efforts and despite losing out on sixth place to Stroll he was thrilled the team’s main objective was achieved in Mexico.

“It’s just a shame that the Virtual Safety Car happened at the wrong moment because it allowed Stroll to jump ahead of me,” Perez said. “Otherwise I think we could have finished in sixth.

“The main objective of the weekend was to confirm fourth place in the championship so I’m extremely happy that we have done this with two races to spare.”