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GP Week : Issue 223
Force India left Austria having scored ten points and risen to fifth in the constructors' championship. It was the British team's best race of the year and only the second time both drivers have finished in the points - the first being the Australian Grand Prix when only 11 cars finished. The weekend ran pretty well for the team, with Nico Hulkenberg surprising to split the two Williams during qualifying. In the race he duly converted that to sixth place while Sergio Perez raced his way up to ninth. "We always knew it would be difficult to keep the Williams of Bottas behind me, so bringing the car home in sixth was probably the maximum we could achieve," Hulkenberg admitted. "It's been a great weekend: I found a nice rhythm and I have been very happy with the performance of the car." "Realistically it would have been difficult to have finished higher up the order," agreed deputy team boss Bob Fernley. Hulkenberg enjoyed an early battle with Bottas, losing out shortly before his pit stop. However slick work from Force India meant he regained the position over Bottas during the pit cycle, setting up one of the most entertaining battles of the race. Sergio Perez meanwhile stayed out of trouble to charge from the back of the grid to ninth after being eliminated in the opening part of qualifying on Saturday. "Considering our position on the grid, it was a good race," said Perez. "I think we could have been a couple of places ahead if everything had gone to plan, but it’s still a good result." Perez struggled in the latter part of the race with vibrations and a slow pit stop but other wise drove a clean race that saw him wheel to wheel with both Lotus drivers. "In the first stint I had a lot of pressure from both the Lotus drivers, but we held strong and the race was looking really good," the Mexican explained. "We lost some time in a slow pit stop and it was a bit difficult to recover after that." The result sees the squad jump Lotus in the constructors' championship and comes the race before the debut of its long awaited B-spec car, which the team hopes will be a sizeable step for ward. 27 GPWEEK.com // 27 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRIA PARTNERS: using the Force