Force-ful drive nets points from Monaco

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PAUL di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh and eighth respectively in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix driving for the Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team.

The duo were able to score valuable points for the Vijay Mallya-owned team, which lifts the squad to eighth in the Constructors’ standings ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.

The ultra-competitive F1 season continued around the streets of Monaco, with the sixth winner in as many races being crowned.

Behind the lead battle, the Sahara Force India cars made solid progress throughout the race, regarded as one the sport’s most demanding events.

Paul di Resta, who lives in the principality, said: “This was a great result today and I’m very happy to make up so much ground on my starting position. We went aggressive with the strategy and I have to say the team really optimised it. The secret was managing the tyres and trying to find clean air when we could.

“The car felt really good, much stronger than yesterday during qualifying, and that allowed me to push when we needed to.

“Fortunately the rain held off at the end because that could have had a big impact on the end of the race. It’s great that we managed to get both cars in the points.”

Nico Hulkenberg echoed di Resta’s thoughts, adding: “It’s a great result for the team and we should be happy with the result.

“At the start it was pretty messy with lots of cars touching and I was lucky to make it through because I had to avoid Grosjean, who was in the middle of the track.

“For the first few laps I was running with Michael (Schumacher) and we were stuck behind Kimi (Raikkonen) who was struggling on the supersoft tyres, but it was difficult to get by. Unfortunately Kimi stopped on the same lap as me so I remained behind him and we came out in a lot of traffic, which is when Paul jumped ahead of me.

“The rest of the race was quite uneventful and I just focused on looking after the tyres and making sure we ended with both cars in the points.”

The part-Bicester based Toro Rosso squad missed out on championship points when Jean-Eric Vergne made a late pit stop for intermediate tyres during the closing stages. The Frenchman was running in seventh position when light rain began to fall near the end and the team decided he should change tyres and be prepared for heavy rain.

But the rain held off for long enough to see the stop as no benefit.

Vergne tumbled out of the points and was classified 12th.

Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was a retirement with mechanical failure.