Manama: Force India driver Paul Di Resta feels that his sixth place finish here in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix was a massive result for the Silverstone-based team.
Di Resta maximised an opportunistic two-stop strategy to finish sixth while his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was 12th. For Force India it was an impressive result considering the fact that the team vehicle survived a fire-bomb during anti-government protests in the capital of the Gulf kingdom.
Di Resta said the two pit-stops worked wonders for the team.
"The result today is massive for us. The team did an amazing job all weekend, the strategy came together and the pit-stops were perfect. We knew it would be a big ask to make only two stops and it was a close run thing at the end because my tyres completely went away on the final lap," he said.
The young driver said he was happy to finish ahead of former world champion Fernando Alonso.
"I had Fernando [Alonso] very close behind me, but I saved a bit of KERS coming out of the final corner and managed to stay ahead. Apart from that, the car has been awesome. So we go away from here as a very happy team with a few weeks to reflect on things and determined to arrive in Barcelona in fighting form," he said.
Hulkenberg said clutch issues with his car proved costly for him.
"I think my race was decided at the very start when I had some clutch issues and the anti-stall kicked in, which really compromised my getaway and dropped me right to the back of the pack. From then on it was a long, hard fight back through the field, and it was hard work coming through the traffic. So a tough race for me, but great to see Paul pick up some points," he said.
Deputy team principal Robert Fernley heaved a sigh of relief considering everything that has gone on this week
"I am delighted to see such a strong team performance in today's race. We took a brave call on the strategy with Paul, but it paid off, and having saved the tyres yesterday allowed us to push the two-stop window right to the limit. Once again Paul drove a superb race, lapping consistently and making the strategy work perfectly. This sixth place is well-deserved and matches his best result in Formula One," he said.
Fernley also said that clutch issues robbed Force India a chance to make two top-10 finishes.
"It's a shame that Nico was the victim of a clutch issue on the opening lap, otherwise I'm sure he would have been up there fighting for points as well," he said.