Force India Bahrain GP Race Report
Monday, 9 April 2018 | Ravenol Marketing
RAVENOL’s technical partner Sahara Force India Formula One team scored their first point this weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix as Esteban Ocon finished in 10th place.
It was a dramatic race, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel clinging onto victory ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, after team mate Kimi Raikkonen had a disaster in the pits, running over a mechanic after a wheel change issue which ended his race.
Slightly further back, Esteban had a great start, climbing up to 7th whilst holding off a charging Lewis Hamilton. Checo unfortunately got spun by Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley, who received a 10 second penalty for causing a collision.
The Pink Panthers slipped back slightly during the pit window, unable to take advantage of the undercut on the underperforming medium tyres, but managed to climb back up the field as the race progressed. On the cusp of the points scoring positions, Esteban got close enough to make a move on Renault’s Carlos Sainz, but was disrupted by front runner Valtteri Bottas. It took him 5 laps to get back into the DRS zone and make the move to take 10th.
“It was a very tough race and there was never really a chance to catch my breath. I was always pushing, always fighting, always chasing,” he said after the race. “It was a nice reward to overtake Carlos with just two laps to go and score the final point. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get more from this race, especially starting from eighth place, but we did the best we could in the circumstances. The main positive to take from this weekend is the improvement we made compared to Melbourne.”
Just behind him, Checo was able to close right up on Sainz but couldn’t make the move before the final lap. The two were wheel to wheel going down the start-finish straight but Checo was just held off by the Renault driver.
“It feels like an opportunity lost because my race was effectively over on lap one,” he said of his first corner spin. “I made a pretty good start, but Brendon lost control of his car and spun me around. I had a lot of damage to the floor and that cost me performance for the rest of the race. Despite that, I nearly made it back into the points.
“It was a fun race, with lots of battles and we are making progress with the car. I hope we can continue the good work and be quicker in China, where we will hopefully get more performance from our package.”
Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer was very pleased with both drivers’ performance after the race.
“Esteban did an excellent job of chasing down Sainz in the final few laps and put significant pressure on him to overtake him and move back into the top ten.
“Sergio’s race was compromised heavily by the contact with Hartley on the opening lap. There was big contact, which damaged the floor quite significantly and impacted performance. The spin dropped him to the back of the field and a slow puncture forced him to pit early and adopt a two-stop strategy. To recover to P12 was a tremendous effort in the circumstances.
The next race will be held on the coming Sunday, 15th April, in Shanghai, China, with the race being started at 07:10 BST. From 20th to 22nd July, 2018, Formula One will make its German stop at the Hockenheimring – which means that you can witness the race action of the pinnacle of motor racing at RAVENOL’s partner circuit.