Double finish for Force India in Australian Open Grand Prix (Lead)

March 29th, 2009 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, March 29 (IANS) Force India recorded its best performance since debut in 2008, securing a double finish in Australian Grand Prix Formula One race at Albert Park here Sunday.
After a thrilling and unpredictable race, Adrian Sutil finished in 10th position with Giancarlo Fisichella at 12th, guiding Force India to achieve its early season objective of a double finish in season’s first race.

Briton Jenson Button won the race, his second Grand Prix victory in 154 starts. The 29-year-old was never headed in the 58-lap race, beating team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren finished third after being elevated one spot as Toyota’s Jarno Trulli recieved a 25-second penalty for overtaking during a safety car phase. Trulli was dropped from third to 12th place in the classification due to the penalty.

The season could not have begun on a better note for Vijay Mallaya’s Force India.

Giancarlo demonstrated the much improved pace of the new VJM02 engine and by lap 12 was in a points scoring position.

When the first safety car was deployed Giancarlo had graduated to fourth position, however an unfortunate mistake on entering the pitlane cost him crucial seconds and he rejoined in 14th position. The Italian pushed until the end to finish the race.

“I am disappointed with the mistake I made in the pit stop. I was just confused with last year as we were always in the last slot in the pitlane, so I just overshot and had to be pulled back into the pits. We were in a position to get a better result. We can take some positives away from the race. The car felt good over the race.”

Adrian, who lost part of his front wing and was forced to pit, drove a measured, consistent race and kept clear of the numerous accidents to claim his best result in over a year.

“We got a very exciting race. After the first safety car everything was fine - we had a good strategy with a short stint on the soft tyres in the middle. On the restart I could get past a few cars and then on the hard tyre it went really well. We are happy with this,” Adrian said.

Mallya, chairman and team principal Force India, was delighted with the result.

“Considering the relatively late debut of the VJM02 and the changes we have implemented over the winter, getting two cars to the finish is a fantastic achievement. Both drivers had overall excellent races and showed that we have made improvements to both the pace and the balance of the car this year. It’s a good foundation for this year.”

The team will now travel directly to Malaysia for the second race of the championship in just one week’s time.

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