Beating Mercedes has been the highlight so far, says Mallya

August 4th, 2011 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Force India boss Vijay Mallya is encouraged by the team’s strong result in the last two races and says outpacing the Mercedes team in Germany and Hungary has been the most pleasing part for them in the Formula One season so far.

Force India go into the mid-season break on seventh position in the Constructor’s Championship with 14 out of their 26 points coming in the previous two rounds. Adrian Sutil came sixth at the Nurburgring, finishing ahead of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes. Paul di Resta delivered in the following race at the Hungaroring, finishing seventh ahead a Mercedes team which operates on a much-higher budget.

“It is the result that counts (beating Mercedes),” said Mallya in a statement Thursday.

“I am very encouraged and very happy. Development work through the season is obviously paying off. The car is getting better and more competitive and easier to drive.”

Force India started the season well with points in Australia and Malaysia but then went through a quiet period in the next three races. Mallya says the VJM04 picked up pace from the European season onwards.

“We had a slow start to the season, because I think the first few flyaway races were just an extension of our development programme. But once we got going from the European season onwards, particularly from Monaco, we have improved almost every race. These last few races, where we have qualified in Q3. To be in the top 10 in such a fiercely competitive field is quite satisfying.”

The Silverstone-based outfit, however, would want to improve on both cars not having a good result in the same race.

“It was very wet (in Hungary) and Adrian went off into the gravel on the first lap. It is unfortunate that we seem to be always having bad luck with one of the cars. It will be nice going forward to see both coming home in the points.”

The next race is in Belgium at the Spa circuit, where the Force India got their maiden podium finish till date with Giancarlo Fisichella coming second from pole position.

Mallya says the current car is more capable than the one in 2009 and he is confident of another good show in the August 28 race.

“It was an absolutely fantastic moment to see the car in pole position in 2009 and Giancarlo Fisichella on the podium. But that car could only go very fast in a straight line, and pretty much didn’t do very much else! Now it is doing everything that is asked of it, irrespective of the track. I think that is a better position to be in.”

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