Burgundy, France, Jun 23 (UNI) The Force India Formula One Team was finally relieved as both its drivers - Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil - achieved their target of a double finish in the French Grand Prix at the Circuit de Nevers.
While Fisichella brought his VJM01 home in 18th position yesterday, Sutil was just behind in 19th following a tough 70 lap race from which only one car retired.
Fisichella started from 17th on the grid and immediately gained a position on the first lap. Keeping pace with the group in front on his first stint, the Italian pitted late on lap 32 to try to gain track position.
He remained in touch with the field, getting back to 16th by the mid point of the race but was unfortunate to have dropped back to 18th following his second stop on lap 54.
Sutil too had a good start and was on the tail of the Honda of Barrichello in 17th until his first stop on lap 20.
In the middle stint on medium tyres, Sutil put in some strong laps and closed the gap to the field but his second stop dropped him back to the rear of the field.
The team will however take heart in scoring its first double finish since Bahrain.
Sutil, however, was disappointed and said the team had some better races this year.
''It was a bit frustrating. Both myself and Giancarlo had a very aggressive strategy to try to make up some more places in the race, but we also needed to have some luck.
''This was disappointing, seeing the cars passing you when you are lapping well. In the middle stint the pace was OK, it was just the strategy didn't work out in the end,'' Sutil said.
Meanwhile, Fisichella looked a bit relieved and said the team did achieve its target of finishing the race.
''Our target from today's race was to get to the end of the race and we did, so I am pleased from this respect as we have not finished the last three races.
''We had more reliability from the car but the pace was not as good as we would have liked at times. It was better than yesterday, but we need a step forward to move on.
Force India chairman and managing director Vijay Mallya said his team can a lot positives from yesterday's race but was a disappointed to the fact that his drivers could not make use of the opportunities at crucial stages.
''Our goal here was to improve reliability and we can take some confidence that we have achieved this aim, with no problems on either cars.
''We had a strong strategy to try to make up places, which we needed to do when starting from the back, but sadly we could not capitalise on it with the extraordinary reliability of the field,'' Mallya said.
From here, Force India will now return to its UK base to regroup ahead of a three-day test at Silverstone next week where a new aero and mechanical package will be tested for the first time.
''However with this strong basis in the back of our minds we can now move onto Silverstone for the test next week, where we look forward to some new developments that should hopefully let us make up some time up to the field,'' Mallya conceded.
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