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F1: Sergio Perez's brilliant prodium pushes Sahara Force India to second

Sahara Force India’s returned to the podium Sunday as Sergio Perez scored a brilliant third place in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Perez’s teammate, Nico Hulkenberg was close behind in fifth place bringing the team’s points total to 44 and moving the team up to second place in the constructors’ championship, one ahead of McLaren.

Hulkenberg is third in the drivers’ championship, behind the two Mercedes AMG drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Vijay Mallya with Sergio Perez, Bahrain 2014
Vijay Mallya with Sergio Perez, Bahrain 2014 (Photo: Sahara Force India F1 Team)

The Mercedes-powered VJM07 proves to be not only fast, but also reliable, a factor that is crucial in 2014.

“This podium is an amazing achievement and one of the most special results in my whole career,” said Perez.

“This is a massive confidence boost, especially after the very hard season I had last year, and it was the hardest-fought podium I ever had. It was an amazing feeling to cross the line because the last few laps were very difficult. I had to keep up the pace and I knew the Red Bulls were coming. In the end we managed to stay ahead and score this very special result in only my third race with the team,” he added.

Historic day
“Today is one of the greatest days in the history of our team,” said an emotional Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director.

“It’s been a long time coming, but it’s very satisfying to see Sahara Force India back on the podium after so many near misses in recent years. We have a great driver line-up and today we saw both Checo and Nico at their best as they battled for a place on the podium. Without the safety car our two-stop strategies would have been much more comfortable because we faced a strong assault from the Red Bulls in the closing stages,” Mallya continued.

“Nico did a fantastic job to keep them back for so long and hold on to fifth place. It gave Checo the breathing space he needed to secure third place. So I’m extremely proud of everyone in the team and congratulate all of the team members on this achievement. 2014 is a new chance and we have shown we're moving forward in Australia, Malaysia and here. I couldn't be happier."