Hulkenberg and Perez in top 10 for Force India

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Sahara Force India enjoyed a positive start to the 2014 season as Nico Hulkenberg scored six points with seventh place at Albert Park. Sergio Perez finished 11th but was awarded a single point due to the disqualification of second placed Ricciardo.

Nico Hulkenberg, VJM07-04, 7th: “Seventh place is a positive way to start the season. I was very happy to see the chequered flag – the first time I’ve done so in Melbourne – and it’s important to score some good points early on. I made a strong start and enjoyed good track position for the first two stints when I was running up in fourth. The only real issue I had was some front left graining on the soft tyres, which never really cleared up and that compromised my first two stints. It was a shame to lose two positions at my second stop [to Button and Alonso] but it looks like some of the cars around us have a bit more pace at the moment. I want to thank the team for the amazing job they’ve done over the winter and this weekend to get us to this point. It’s been a great effort and it’s nice to reward everyone with some points at the first race.”

Sergio Perez, VJM07-02, 11th (10th following the disqualification of Ricciardo): "I’m satisfied to finish the race, but disappointed not to score points. My race became very difficult on lap one when I got hit by the Sauber of Gutierrez at turn three. It gave me a puncture and I had to return to the pits very slowly, which dropped me to the back of the pack. After that I just tried to keep a consistent pace on the medium tyres and I was quite fortunate that the safety car came out, which helped me recover some positions. Points were close, but my progress was hurt by being stuck behind the Sauber of Adrian for such a long time. It’s positive to finish the race because it gives the team lots of information and hopefully that will make us stronger for Malaysia."

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: "Starting the season with points is what we were aiming to do so we're happy with today's result. Nico drove an excellent race and was able to fight near the front for most of the race, eventually earning us six points. Sergio’s race was much more challenging with a puncture on lap one making it difficult for him to show the pace of the car. The safety car allowed him to catch up, but he just missed out on reaching the top ten. Overall we are pleased to see both cars make the finish in this new era of Formula One and we have learned a huge amount. I congratulate everyone in the team for all their hard work over the winter and I look forward to Malaysia in two weeks’ time where we will aim to build on what we learned this weekend.”