• Bahrain Grand Prix

We do not want another five-year wait - Mallya

ESPN Staff
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Vijay Mallya feels podiums are there for the taking in 2014 © Sutton Images
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Vijay Mallya insists he is determined to build on Force India's first podium since 2009 by making a habit of success this season.

Sergio Perez crossed the line in third in Bahrain on Sunday, ending a wait of over four seasons since Giancarlo Fisichella claimed the team's maiden podium at Spa in 2009. Mallya has made no secret of his ambition to make Force India a genuine contender in F1 and he admits Bahrain is a race he will not forget in a hurry.

"It is a very special moment," Mallya told the official Formula One website. My job was always to make this team climb up the ladder, steadily. I always believed that 2014 - with all the new regulations - gave us a new opportunity. And so far what a good season it has been! We finished sixth in Australia, we improved to fifth in Malaysia, and I think I hinted in Malaysia that I hoped that we could improve further, and there you have it: the podium in Bahrain.

"We were quietly confident with Checo being fourth on the grid, but everything had to be perfect for us - especially as we planned a two-stop strategy. We were not so sure if we would make the tyres work, but the drivers did an excellent job."

Mallya also reserved praise for Nico Hulkenberg, who played a crucial role in holding up Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages on his way to fifth, and hopes the success is a sign of things to come in 2014.

"Even Nico Hulkenberg was outstanding - starting 11th and moving up to seventh on the first lap and driving a flawless race. It was all down to great teamwork as in the last two to three laps the Red Bulls, on their new soft tyres, were really flying and he managed to hold off Ricciardo and Vettel - and that improved the chances for Perez. Everybody in the team is absolutely delighted that we have finally achieved the podium. Last year we were quite unlucky, but today the jinx is broken - and I would not mind if this is the start of a nice series of podiums."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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