Force India frustrated by 'ridiculous' Russian GP start crashes

Force India's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer described the Russian Grand Prix start as "ridiculous" as both his Formula 1 drivers were again involved in first-lap incidents

Force India frustrated by 'ridiculous' Russian GP start crashes

For the second time in three grands prix, both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were caught up in accidents before lap one was complete.

On the previous occasion in Bahrain, both continued but failed to score.

This time Perez sustained a puncture when clipped by Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull as the Turn 2 Daniil Kvyat/Sebastian Vettel contact unfolded.

Though Perez was able to rejoin and finish ninth, Nico Hulkenberg was less fortunate and was eliminated when hit by the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez.

"It's just ridiculous," Szafnauer told Autosport.

"Both drivers were in an accident early in the race again.

"Perez was really close to escaping it because it all happened behind him.

"It's just one of the Red Bulls - I think it was Ricciardo - his front wing hit his right-rear tyre.

"How can you plan for that?

"After that we had to do one extra pitstop compared to everyone else so take those 20 seconds away and that would have put us in sixth.

"Towards the end we were right behind eighth and seventh places, within a couple of seconds, but it's hard to overtake here."

After a tough start to the season, with the team scoring points just once in the first three races, Szafnauer at least took the positives out of the car's improved performance at Sochi.

"The good parts that we can take home from here are that the pace was good," he said.

"When Sergio was in free air after those in front either got by him or pitted out of the way he was really quick, so that's good news.

"The underlying pace is there. The rest will come, it just takes time, We still have 17 races to go."

Force India is planning on introducing what Szafnauer described as a "comprehensive aero update" for the next race in Spain.

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