Force India not giving up McLaren fight

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Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya says his team have not given up on beating McLaren to fifth place in the constructors’ championship this year.

The Silverstone-based team slipped behind McLaren at the Belgian Grand Prix. Their points-scoring rate has declined sharply since Pirelli introduced its latest tyre compounds at the German Grand Prix.

However Mallya is determined to take fifth place back from their rivals. “The objective has not changed,” he said.

“McLaren have a points lead over us, but they are not totally out of reach. As I’ve said before, turning on the tyres is paramount and we are working hard to achieve this. There are a lot of points on offer and we need to try and regain the performance level we showed in the first part of the season.”

The team lost a chance to out-score McLaren when Paul di Resta crashed out in the closing stages of the last race in Singapore.

“I think the race and strategy went very well for us,” said Mallya. “Without Paul’s incident we were looking at a potential sixth place finish because he was running ahead of Massa in any case.”

It shows the vast difference between what happens in qualifying and what happens in the race. We always knew after free practice that we had a bit of race pace and it came through on Sunday.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”