One week ago in Suzuka, we failed to score a single point, but today’s result was built on work we did in Japan. It was there that we first tried a series of updates to our aero package; the fruit of plenty of clever thinking and hard work from the guys at the wind tunnel in Bicester and in the Faenza factory. We saw signs of what the TR6 could do with its new bits in place during Friday’s free practice, but there were concerns about reliability, so we back-pedalled in Suzuka. Even with just a few days in between these two races, our engineers moved the project forward and here we are running a car that seems to have found more pace and good top speed. It’s too early to get over excited though, because we have seen throughout this season how performance can be very track specific. However, it means we can go to Noida for the first ever Indian Grand Prix in optimistic mood.
Optimism was not quite the mood in the garage shortly after the start: Jaime dropped one place, which was not too bad, but poor Séb got hit from behind and dropped four places off his grid position. It was going to be a long hard slog in Yeongam. Lap 2 and Séb was up to 16th and 15th next time round, while Jaime was back in his grid position (eleventh) by lap 3. Next round and Buemi dealt with Maldonaldo at the hairpin. Lap 7 and Jaime was shifting, getting the better of Di Resta to go tenth, while the Swiss kicked Kobayashi out of 13th spot, going up to 12th when Di Resta pitted.
Sébastien made his first stop on lap 14 and two laps later, it was a bit of harmless fun to see ALG in P2, simply because he was going to be the last of the front runners to come in for fresh rubber on lap 17. When Maldonaldo got a drive through, Buemi was up to 11th and when Rosberg pitted Jaime found himself seventh on lap 27. For Séb, it was time to deal with Di Resta again, overtaking the Force India to go ninth on lap 31. The Swiss and the Spaniard made their second and final stops on laps 36 and 37. From then on, Jaime began a relentless pursuit of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, the car that takes this year’s title as the Hardest Car To Overtake, because of its excellent straight line speed. Lap 49 and Buemi was again passing Di Resta – how many Scottish Force India drivers were there in this race – to take the ninth place he would keep to the flag. With constant advice from the pit wall as to when he should activate the KERS power boost to try and get close the German, Jaime got within striking distance in the very last laps. First there was an aborted attempt when he pulled alongside only for Rosberg to fend him off and then, on the very last lap, all that hard work paid off and Jaime actually made it look easy as he sailed past to take seventh place. What you might call a great Korea move. A fantastic result at the end of a very exciting race.
Oh and as a side bar, a team called Red Bull Racing won its second consecutive Constructors’ championship today and Mr Vettel won the race, joined on the podium by Lewis Hamilton for McLaren and Mark Webber in the other Red Bull. We can’t wait for our first taste of India in two weeks’ time.