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Force India confirmed as P4 in F1 constructors’ for second year running

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Force India confirmed itself in fourth place in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship for the second year running after a strong double-points finish in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.

After enjoying its best-ever season in F1 by finishing fourth in 2016, Force India has been the class of the midfield throughout this season with drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon both scoring points on a regular basis.

The pair charged into the points once again in Mexico, with Ocon taking P5 and Perez P7 as their haul of 16 points clinched the team P4 in the constructors’ championship with two races to spare.

Both Ocon and Perez dodged incidents on a chaotic first lap to rise up the order, running third and fifth early on before losing out to Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel through the race.

“It’s a great day for the team. Fifth place in the race and securing fourth place in the championship is a fantastic achievement after a strong season,” Ocon said.

“For a while I believed the podium was possible because I was sitting in third place for so long. I made a great start and then I pushed as hard as I could in the free air. Sadly the Virtual Safety Car gave Kimi an advantage during the pit stops and he was able to overtake us.

“The final few laps of the race with [Lance] Stroll behind me were not easy. He had fresher tires and managed to catch me, so I had to give it everything to stay ahead.

“When you work so hard for a result it feels very satisfying so I look forward to celebrating tonight.”

“Despite the poor qualifying yesterday, we came back stronger today and managed to have a really good race with competitive pace,” reflected Perez after his home race.

“It’s just a shame that the Virtual Safety Car happened at the wrong moment because it allowed Stroll to jump ahead of me. Otherwise I think we could have finished in sixth.

“The main objective of the weekend was to confirm fourth place in the championship so I’m extremely happy that we have done this with two races to spare.

“It’s been another special weekend with so much support from the fans and I have to say a huge thank you to all of them for the energy they have given me.”

Force India’s result in Mexico also saw it beat its record points total of 173 from 2016, sitting on 175 with two races to go this year.

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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