Sahara Force India enjoyed a strong showing in Melbourne as Nico Hulkenberg qualified in seventh place for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix. Teammate Sergio Perez qualified in P16.
“The first qualifying session of the new season and we finished P7, which is good news! Everything went well today and it was an entertaining session, which I really enjoyed. It was the first time I’ve driven the new car in the wet, but right away I felt comfortable and confident with a nice balance on the intermediates and the wets. There was a good harmony between me and the car, and the team did a great job helping me manage the traffic. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it really is a step into the unknown for everyone. I think we are well prepared and I’m really looking forward to the race where points will be our target.”
“It was not an easy session, especially Q2, and unfortunately we didn’t manage to get a good lap in the wet conditions. It was hard to find clear space with the traffic and I had to pit for new tyres when the track was probably at its best. When I left the pits for my final attempt I locked the rear tyres going into turn three, lost control and could not recover. So it was not the qualifying result we were expecting, but we know tomorrow is another opportunity. We will fight back and try to score some points.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director:
“It is very promising to see Nico qualify seventh under these difficult conditions. He always excels in the wet and today he looked very comfortable, whatever the weather. Sergio had a more difficult session and unfortunately the weather changed for the worse as he was pitting for new tyres, which made it very difficult for him to improve. I think he will fare better in the race and improve his position because our pace in practice suggests we can be in the fight for points. The weather will surely play a big role, with the chance of more rain showers tomorrow, so we will need to plan for all possible conditions.”
Subbed by AJN.