Force India Race Report – Shanghai
16 April 2018 | Ravenol Marketing
This weekend our Technical Partners Force India were tantalisingly close to scoring more points when Formula One went to the Shanghai International Circuit in China.
It was dramatic race seeing Sergio Perez slipping down the order on the opening lap after a collision with Renault’s Nico Hulkenburg, almost taking out his team mate Esteban Ocon as he got back on track. Thankfully both survived and managed to fight their way back up the order into the points scoring positions.
The appearance of the safety car later on in the race had a massive impact on the finishing order. The two Red Bull cars were perfectly placed to take advantage of a “free pitstop” – so called because they don’t lose any time when the other cars are moving at slow speed around the track. They came out on fresh soft tyres and Daniel Ricciardo was able to overtake Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to take the lead and win the race. His team mate Max Verstappen tried to follow him and ended up colliding with Vettel, ruining the German’s race and earning himself a 10 second penalty.
The Force India cars also came in during the safely car period but the Pink Panthers unfortunately weren’t able capitalise on the safety car as well as the Red Bulls. It was a tactical move to undercut Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean on the restart, but it cost them places and by the time they got past the Haas drivers it was too late in the race to gain the places back. Esteban finished in 11th and Sergio was right behind him in 12th.
Both drivers were positive about the progress the car had made despite finishing outside the points positions:
“It’s another race where things didn’t play into our hands, but the pace was competitive so we focus on the positives,” Esteban told Force India’s Driver’s Eye. “It was a messy start and we lost some time and we didn’t make any progress. The race was starting to come back to us because we pitted early and the two-stop strategy looked to be working well. We were on course to finish in the points until the safety car came out. After that it was a big push until the end of the race, but I was stuck behind Grosjean for too long and he defended very well."
Team mate Sergio also talked about the first lap drama: “It was another race ruined on the first lap. The start was chaotic and I ran into a lot of trouble. That pretty much ruined our whole weekend. We were suddenly on the back foot, on the weaker tyre and there was very little I could do. We got close to the points and the team made a strategy call that gave me an opportunity to try and pass Kevin but there was not enough time.
“We can focus on the positives: we are getting closer to our competition. Yesterday we took a step forward; we made another improvement today and I am confident that once we get to Europe we can start picking up some stronger results.”
The next race will be held on the 29th of April at Baku, Azerbaijan. Formula One fans in the UK can enjoy a lie in this time as the BST race start time is 13:10.