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Fisichella hails Force India progress 06 Apr 2008

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 VJM01 leads Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA108.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Sunday, 6 April 2008 (L to R): Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Force India F1 Chief Technical Officer with Mohammad Azharuddin (IND) Former Indian Cricket Captain and Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India F1 Team Owner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 April 2008 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01 involved in action at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Sunday, 6 April 2008 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 April 2008

Force India were celebrating in Bahrain on Sunday. Lead driver Giancarlo Fisichella may have finished a lap down in 12th, but after an intriguing battle with Honda’s Rubens Barrichello he set the 11th fastest race lap. And with Adrian Sutil coming home 19th the team recorded their first double finish of the year.

Fisichella made a great start from 18th on the grid and was up to 11th by the third lap. He kept Barrichello at bay until his first stop on lap 22, but then lost out in the pits. Nevertheless he finished six places up on his starting position, the best improvement of any driver in the field.

“Our pace was consistent so I had a good race,” reported the Italian. “In the middle stint there were some problems with the soft tyres and they did not seem to work as well as they could have, but at the end of the race the hard tyres were working well and I was comfortable. I am really happy about my race, the team has done a good job so far and we just need to improve the car a little bit more and then we will be there.”

Sutil was less fortunate, a first-lap collision putting him a lap down almost immediately, but even that couldn’t wipe the grin off the face of team chairman Vijay Mallya, who praised the performance of both drivers.

“I am smiling after this race as we again stepped up our game here in Bahrain,” said Mallya. “We have performed well this weekend, with Giancarlo and Adrian just missing out on Q2 again by the smallest of margins and featuring well in practice. We have then achieved a double finish and were once more fighting for positions.

“I was delighted with Giancarlo's race pace and proud to see a Force India again fighting with well-established and experienced teams and drivers. Going into the European season now we have a very strong foundation.”

Force India will now return briefly to their Silverstone base before heading out to Barcelona for a three-day test prior to the Spanish Grand Prix. The test will take place from 14-16 April, with reserve driver Vitantonio Liuzzi driving the first day, Fisichella the second and Sutil bringing the test to a close.