The Force India Formula 1 team celebrated its 200th race with an “satisfying” result by achieving its first double points finish of the 2018 campaign in the Austrian Grand Prix. 

Esteban Ocon turned in an impressive drive to finish sixth, with teammate Sergio Perez coming home just behind in seventh to seal a strong result at the Red Bull Ring

Despite slipping behind rivals Haas to seventh in the constructors’ championship, the Silverstone-based squad’s strong points haul means it is now within eight points of fifth place as 2018’s tight midfield scrap intensified in Spielberg. 

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“A fantastic result for everyone,” Ocon explained. “I’m really happy we closed the gap, we are very close to everyone in front so that’s fantastic and I’m delighted with the job everyone has done. 

“If you were going to tell me I was going to finish sixth I would have signed [up for it] straight away. There was a good team understanding towards the end as we swapped places to chase Magnussen. We were on a different strategy with Checo and in the end we got good points for the team. 

“We had a good start tyre and we managed those Softs much better than the others. The others they pit at the same time as me and they are out of the points and had to stop again. Strong effort.”

Perez ran longer into the race after Force India was unable to double-stack its drivers under the Virtual Safety Car period, but allowed a fast-charging Ocon through in the closing stages in a bid to attack Kevin Magnussen’s Haas after the Frenchman made his final pit stop 12 laps later than Perez. 

“We have come away with important points from a weekend that was quite challenging in the lead up to the race,” Perez said. “Starting from P15 on the grid and finishing seventh is a great effort and we should be proud of this achievement. 

“Yes, there were some cars that retired ahead of us, but we raced well and made our strategy work so that we could take advantage of these opportunities.”

Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer added: “Today’s result represents a very well executed race by the entire team. We kept out of trouble in the opening laps and then made some excellent calls from the pit wall to keep Esteban and Sergio in contention for points. 

“To score 14 points from a weekend where we didn’t optimise our Friday and Saturday sessions helps make today’s performance more satisfying and is a nice way to celebrate our 200th race as Force India.”

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