Brazilian Grand Prix: Force India virtually seal 4th place in constructor's championship
Sahara Force India has virtually sealed a historic fourth position in the constructors championship after securing 18 points from the rain-hit Brazilian GP.
Sao Paulo: Sahara Force India has virtually sealed a historic fourth position in the constructors championship after securing 18 points from the rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix as Sergio Perez finished an impressive fourth and Nico Hulkenberg seventh, here.
With this performance, Force India now have 163 points, 27 more than closest rival Williams, who failed to secure a single point from the penultimate race of the season.
Valtteri Bottas finished 11th, just outside the points bracket while local hero Felipe Massa crashed out early into the race.
Last season, Force India had finished fifth with 136 points and with one race to go in Abu Dhabi, the team is set to record is best ever finish unless Williams come up with a dramatic show in the season-ending race.
It was second-best performance of the season for Perez, who has savoured two podiums this season.
"What a fun but tense race today. It's a shame to lose a podium place in the last two laps, but Max [Verstappen] just had a different pace. He was the fastest on track and there was nothing I could do to keep him behind," Perez said.
"Even though I am a bit disappointed, we can still celebrate a great race and an incredible result, especially considering the conditions we had out there today. Just getting to the finish line on a day like this feels like a victory, and to bring home fourth is a very important result."
Hulkenberg said it was an intense race.
"I don't know whether to laugh or cry because I think a possible podium slipped away today. I had great confidence in the car, felt comfortable and I had the pace to push and overtake," the German said.
"There were some scary moments in the race, especially when Kimi crashed in front of me. Some of his debris hit my car and caused a lot of damage. At least I survived that, but then I picked up a puncture from the debris, which was so frustrating because it dropped me down to the back of the field. Without the puncture, who knows where I might have finished? I'm happy and proud of myself and the team. We did a great job, but we were just missing a bit of luck."
This season’s narrow championship leader led the first session ahead of title rival Max Verstappen and the second from Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who drove impressively in both.
With six of the 21 rounds to race, Max Verstappen of Red Bull has retaken the lead in the drivers' championship by six points over reigning champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Verstappen is a major threat to Hamilton's bid for an eighth world title to surpass Michael Schumacher and stand alone among F1 greats. He leads Hamilton 7-5 for wins this season and 7-3 for pole positions.