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Force India: New power in F1

2014-04-07 13:55

PODIUM IN BAHRAIN: Force India’s Sergio Perez (right), who claimed third place in Bahrain, poses with race-winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir race circuit. Image: AP/Hasan Jamali

SAKHIR, Bahrain - Mercedes is the 2014 King  (so far, at least) of Formula 1 but it’s unheralded Force India which has assumed the role of heir apparent. Once-mighty Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari could be said to not even rate princehood.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg powered to a second successive Mercedes 1-2 in a gripping 2014 Bahrain GP  wheel-to-wheel duel on Sunday (April 6). Force India’s Sergio Perez grabbed third, team mate Nico Hulkenberg fifth.

‘GREATEST DAY IN TEAM’S HISTORY’

The pair’s achievement put Force India, owned by Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya, into an unlikely second in the Constructors' championship  after three races in the 2014 season.

Mallya said: "Today is one of the greatest days in the history of our team. It's been a long time coming but it's very satisfying to see us back on the podium after so many near misses in recent years."

Perez's third in Bahrain was Force India's second podium spot in F1; the first achieved by Giancarlo Fisichella's second at the 2009 Belgian GP. It was, however, reward for a consistent season so far which saw Hulkenberg fifth in Malaysia  and sixth in Australia.

Perez, after a barren year with McLaren in 2013, enjoyed a fourth career podium after three such placings in his days with Sauber in 2012.

Hulkenberg is third in the 2014 Drivers' championship, by far the best of the rest left behind by the Rosberg-Hamilton-Mercedes show.

‘I HAD TO KEEP UP THE PACE’

For Perez, his achievement in Bahrain was particularly sweet after his year with McLaren coincided with that team's worst season in its history  - not one podium.

Perez said: "This is a massive confidence boost, especially after the very hard 2013 season, the hardest-fought podium I've had. It was an amazing feeling to cross the line - the last few laps were very difficult. I had to keep up the pace. I knew the Red Bulls were coming."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Chinese GP in April.

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Read more on:    mercedes  |  force india  |  bahrain  |  racing  |  f1  |  motorsport

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