Force India: We had the pace to win, but it was not meant to be

Nov.26 (Force India) Sahara Force India led 30 laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix as Nico Hülkenberg competed for the victory at Interlagos, eventually finishing fifth. Paul Di Resta looked set for points, but crashed on the penultimate lap of the race.

P5 Nico Hülkenberg (VJM05/03):
Tyre strategy: Used medium, new hard, new intermediates
“That was a lot of fun – very entertaining and there was so much happening all the time! We had a great chance to finish on the podium today, but it slipped away, which is a shame. In the early laps it was difficult to keep the car on the track in the very damp conditions, but it was not really wet enough for intermediates and I stuck with the slicks. It was the right decision and soon I was leading the race. I felt comfortable, but eventually I made a small mistake and Lewis got ahead of me. I managed to stay with him and was fighting to get the lead back when we touched. It’s hard to say what happened but I was making a move going into turn one and had a slightly loose rear. I was about to turn in and suddenly there was contact. It’s a shame for both of us because we were having a great battle. I managed to keep going but I had lost a lot of time. Fifth place is still a super result to end the season and I think the team did an excellent job this weekend. I hope they enjoyed the race – it’s a nice leaving present in my last race.”

P19 Paul Di Resta (VJM05/04):
Tyre strategy: New medium, new intermediates, new hard, new intermediates
“It was a very tricky race and not easy to make the calls with the weather constantly changing. Ultimately we made the wrong decision to switch to the intermediates in the early stages because the track began to dry quite soon after my stop. The tyres lost performance quickly and I went back to the slicks just before the Safety Car came out. That brought us back into play, but I struggled for grip at the restart and lost a few places. When we went back to the intermediates in the closing stages we were more competitive and I was up in eighth place. Unfortunately with a lap to go I aquaplaned in the final corner. It was a big hit with the wall, but I’m OK.”

Rob Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“What a race! Certainly one of the most exciting races I’ve seen, with drama on every lap. For a while it looked like we were heading for a fairly-tale result with Nico leading for so much of the race and showing his skill in the tricky conditions. We had a great car today and had the pace to win, but it was not meant to be. I would question the deployment of the first Safety Car, which we believe could have been covered under waved yellows. Equally, we were surprised by the drive-through for Nico, and feel it could have been investigated after the race because there were three cars involved. With Paul we played a slightly different strategy with an early switch to the intermediate tyres, as most teams did, but when the rain eased off he went back to slicks. He was looking set for points until the crash towards the end, but it’s a relief to see him get out of the car OK. So we end the season on a positive note and head into the winter optimistic that we can start next year just as well. On behalf of the team I’d like to say goodbye to Nico and thank him for his contribution to our campaign this season. It has been a pleasure to have him drive our cars.”

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