Force India squeezes out double points finish in Spain

2 Comments

Noticeable rates of tire degradation proved an obstacle to Sahara Force India’s efforts in the Spanish Grand Prix, but Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg’s ninth and tenth place finishes made sure the team left Barcelona with another double points result.

“There were few surprises in this afternoon’s race and our final result of ninth and tenth is a fair reflection of the pace we have shown during this weekend,” said team owner Vijay Mallya.

“As I said yesterday, this circuit was never going to play to our strengths and yet we still managed to secure a double points finish. It means we’ve scored points in every race so far this year and this keeps up our momentum in the championship.”

Hulkenberg, who finished in the same place he started, said that Sunday’s race was “a case of damage limitation” but felt like things worked out in the end for the team.

“We knew from the early practice sessions that this wasn’t going to be our strongest track so to get two cars in the points is a positive result,” he said. “The tire degradation was high and the car was not so easy to drive, but I think everybody was struggling in the final part of the race.

“I thought we would need to make a third stop, but fortunately the tires held on and I was able to score a point. We will use all the data we got over the weekend to improve for the next few races where we hope to be a bit more competitive.”

As for Perez, who jumped two spots from 11th on the grid, he thought that the tire degradation was fine enough to warrant a less conservative approach to the race.

“Maybe if we had stopped earlier, I could have jumped ahead of some more cars because my pace was good, but it was just so difficult to overtake,” he said of his day in Barcelona.

“We knew this track would be a tough test for us, so this result is more or less what we expected here. Maybe P7 or P8 was achievable today, but we should feel quite happy to keep up our run of points.”

Force India remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, nine points behind Ferrari for third (66-57) as the Monaco Grand Prix looms on the horizon.

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on NBCSN, NBC Sports App this week

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After five years and 98 Grands Prix broadcast since 2013, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Formula 1 concludes with the 2017 season finale from Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit this week.

The lights come on for the day-into-night Grand Prix of the year as the sun sets on five years of broadcasts, original content and additional digital specific features such as Paddock Pass.

For Abu Dhabi this week, all of the race, qualifying and second free practice will be live on NBCSN with first and third free practice live on the NBC Sports App. The race returns is back in the usual morning a.m. time slots after three mid-day races in Austin, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, and a pair of overnight affairs in Kuala Lumpur and Suzuka. Formula 2 coverage of its season finale from Abu Dhabi also airs both on NBCSN and online.

With this the final race of the season before F1’s winter break, there’s still a handful of things to get sorted even though Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have wrapped their respective championships.

Sebastian Vettel (Brazil) and Max Verstappen (Mexico) have won the last two races, with Hamilton’s most recent win coming at Circuit of the Americas. Will it be any of these three that wrap the year on a high or could any of their teammates – Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo or Valtteri Bottas – upend the script?

Mercedes has won the last three races in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2016 with Nico Rosberg taking the 2015 crown.

Vettel and Hamilton have three wins apiece in Abu Dhabi, Vettel having taken all of his with Red Bull in 2009, 2010 and 2013, and Hamilton adding a 2011 McLaren triumph to his last two with Mercedes. Raikkonen (2012, Lotus) and Rosberg are the other Abu Dhabi winners, and while both Vettel and Raikkonen have won in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari never has in the first eight races here.

The last place up for grabs in the constructor’s battle is for sixth, with Toro Rosso (53 points), Renault (49) and Haas (47) separated by only six total points. Toro Rosso and Renault got into a nasty war of words in Brazil, and will part ways after the weekend.

Felipe Massa signs off his career in F1 for the second and expected final time at Williams, and with Toro Rosso having confirmed Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley last week, his seat is one of only three left to fill for 2018, and the most attractive.

McLaren and Honda also bring to an end their partnership after three troubled seasons, but on the bright side will look to score points for a third straight race together, which hasn’t happened since the Hungarian, German and Belgian Grands Prix of 2016.

As ever, and perhaps for the final time as a collective unit, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Nov. 24, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Nov. 25, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-10:55 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)