Force India hails 'tremendous' start to 2017 following best result in Russian Grand Prix

Sergio Perez has praised Force India's "tremendous" start to the 2017 Formula One season, after the team recorded it's best result of the year at the Russian Grand Prix.

Perez and teammate Esteban Ocon have both finished in the points in all four grands prix this season, strengthening the Silverstone-based outfit's grasp on fourth place in the constructors' standings with what marked the team's 16th top ten finish in a row. Perez claimed sixth with Ocon following just behind in seventh in Sochi on Sunday.

"Sixth place feels very satisfying and with Esteban in seventh it has been a really positive day for the team," Perez said. "We've consolidated our fourth place in the championship and I'm seventh in the drivers' championship -- which is a tremendous effort from the first four races. The race was not especially exciting for me because I was always on my own in clean air -- chasing the cars ahead and pulling away from the cars behind.

"So there were no on-track battles and I could simply focus on managing my race and bringing home the points. The team did a great job with the strategy -- waiting until the right moment to pit and not coming in too soon. Once again, we took all the opportunities that were on the table and we can feel very happy."

Ocon, who sealed his best F1 career finish so far, said he is proud of Force India's achievements and admitted his run of four consecutive points finishes is the best he could have hoped for heading into the start of his first full F1 campaign.

"It feels great to finish in seventh after such a strong performance from the whole team," Ocon explained. "I am very happy with what we achieved [in Russia]: we improved in every session and never went backwards. From the mechanics to the engineers, everyone did a great job and we can be proud.

"I feel there is nothing more we could have extracted from the car. The only negative from the race was a poor start, but I managed to get those positions back before the first lap was over, so it was all good in the end. Finishing in the points in all of the first four races is a great way to start the season and the best I could have hoped for."

Force India team principal Robert Fernley added he was pleased the team was able to "maximise all opportunities" as it secured a 14-point haul in Russia.

"The 14 points scored strengthens our fourth place in the championship and are a nice reward for a weekend where we maximised all our opportunities," Fernley said. "Esteban achieved his best ever result in Formula One and continues his 100 percent points-scoring record with us. Sergio's sixth place means he has now finished in the points in fourteen consecutive races and that's a wonderful achievement.

"The one-stop strategy was clearly the way to go and we made all the correct calls from the pit wall. All in all it's been a very encouraging weekend: the car has worked well; we've made good progress with our qualifying speed and scored points once again with both cars on Sunday."