Force India hails strong finish to its best season

Force India celebrated its best-ever constructors' position in style, its drivers finishing fifth and seventh in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Force India hails strong finish to its best season
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 signs autographs for the fans
Otmar Szafnauer, Sahara Force India F1 Chief Operating Officer in the FIA Press Conference
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08

Over the course of the weekend in the desert, the Silverstone-based team showcased impressive pace on par with the likes of Red Bull, Williams and closer to Ferrari and Mercedes.

Having sealed fifth place in Brazil, the team went into the finale with a clear focus of preparing an even better car for next year.

A double Q3 on Saturday followed by a top-10 result with both cars only strengthened their confidence heading into the winter break.

"The strong result is the ideal way to conclude the most successful season in the team’s history. 16 world championship points in the final race – the most we’ve scored at any race this season," said Otmar Szafnauer, COO.

“The car has been working very well here and the team has done a fantastic job to deliver our most competitive performance of the year in terms of outright pace.

"The result shows just how much progress we have made this season and gives me confidence ahead of 2016," he continued.

"We will celebrate this year's results, but we know we cannot rest on our laurels: we're already at work on our 2016 cars to pick up where we left off tonight and be competitive from the start of next year’s championship."

Drivers elated

Sergio Perez rounded off his best Formula 1 season with a fifth place finish in a fairly lonely race. "It feels great to end the season with a strong performance and I’m very satisfied with how everything has gone in Abu Dhabi – both in qualifying and the race," he said.

"We pushed hard to try and beat Vettel, but he had too much pace on the supersofts and it wasn’t possible to hold him back."

Towards the end, the Mexican had to up his pace to keep a fast-approaching Daniel Ricciardo at bay, which he managed to do as he ended the season with 78 points and ninth in the drivers' standing.

Teammate Nico Hulkenberg had a mixed race but was happy to score good points and keep his 10th place in the standings, accumulating 58 points.

"It was a tough race so it was a really good result to come home with seventh place," the German said. "The start was pretty good - everyone went to the inside so I stuck to the outside.

"It was a brave move and I was able to make up a few places. However, I had a lot of understeer and it was difficult to get the car to turn in, so I suffered in the first two stints," he continued.

"The final part of the race was a bit better and I was able to get into a rhythm. It's been a good season for the team and we will be aiming to build on it over the winter months."

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