After dropping down the order at the Spanish Grand Prix due to a lack of upgrades, Force India managed to bounce back in Monaco on Sunday as Sergio Perez finished in seventh place.
Perez qualified in P7 on Saturday, and managed to hold position off the start before going in pursuit of the Red Bull duo of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo ahead.
Although he was unable to catch them, he did have a healthy buffer to the cars behind thanks to Pastor Maldonado’s brake-by-wire problem which had bunched the chasing pack up.
Perez retained seventh place after pitting for the first time in the race, and had the advantage of a free pit stop when the safety car came out with 15 laps remaining.
The Mexican driver could not catch the drivers ahead, but managed to cross the line in P7 to claim six important points for Force India.
“I’m very happy right now,” Perez said. “As a team we’ve done a fantastic job all weekend and seventh place is the result of all this hard work. For me it was a normal race – very straightforward and quiet, which is strange for Monaco.
“I was racing on my own for most of the race because the cars ahead were able to pull a gap on me and I had space to the cars behind. It was difficult to keep concentration for 78 laps, but after the safety car I was on fresh super-soft tires and it was really good fun.”
Force India is not set to bring any updates for its car until the British Grand Prix in July, making the result all the more important to the team considering the steps made by the rest field in recent weeks.
“It’s a very important result for the whole team and gives us six points for the championship,” Perez said. “It means I’ve scored points in half the races this season, which shows we’ve done a good job of maximizing our opportunities.”
His teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, fought back to finish the race in 11th place after a first lap run-in with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and the German driver believes that he could have scored points had it not been for this issue.
“My race was already compromised then,” Hulkenberg said. “It is not easy to race from so far back because you have to let the leaders through and you’re on the back foot the whole time.
“In terms of pace I was doing quite well, especially when in clean air, but obviously getting lapped costs you a lot of time.
“It is a shame as I feel that without the incident I would have been well into the points today. I still take encouragement from our pace and hopefully we can maximize the next weekend in Canada and get some more points.”