Sahara Force India showed well on the streets of Monaco with Sergio Perez qualifying in seventh place – the team’s best starting position of the year so far. Nico Hulkenberg progressed to Q2 and qualified P13*.
P7. Sergio Perez, VJM08-02
- Q1: 1:17.376; Q2: 1:16.999; Q3: 1:16.808
“I’m really happy and excited with seventh place today. I always say qualifying in Monaco counts for 90% of your final result, so it was important to be strong. To be quick here you need confidence in the car and in yourself, and I had both today. To make it through to Q3 was already a great effort by the team, but to be starting P7 means we have already done a lot of the hard work for the race. We went out early in Q3 because we thought the rain was coming and I had a mega lap. I was worried some of the others might improve their times, especially with the track evolution, but fortunately it was not the case. Tomorrow we have a good opportunity to score some important points. We know that anything can happen on a Sunday in Monaco, but I’m focussed on getting a clean start and a good first lap.”
- P13. Nico Hulkenberg, VJM08-01
Q1: 1:17.552; Q2: 1:17.193
“My final lap was a very good one and I believe I could have been firmly in the top ten, but unfortunately I made a small mistake in the final corner, which cost me enough time to miss out on Q3. Obviously it is disappointing, especially knowing how important your starting position is here. I am likely to be 11th on the grid, which means we will need to choose the right strategy to try and make up some positions. If we make the right calls tomorrow, we should be able to get some points.The brush with the wall in Q1 didn’t do any damage but it cost a lot in terms of rhythm: you spend a long time trying to get the right confidence around Monaco and an incident like this sets you back a little. Qualifying in Monaco is always a challenge, but one I really enjoyed. The car feels much better than it did in Barcelona and we seem to have more performance in our hands which is encouraging. Nevertheless, I expect a tough race where good tyre management will be especially important.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director: “Today’s strong performance in qualifying is an important boost for the team. Sergio’s laps were competitive right from the off and he had the confidence to extract every fraction of a second from the car. It’s an important result because track position is essential around here. Nico also looked on course for a top ten qualifying position, but fell just short of the mark: it is proof of how competitive the midfield is at the moment that one small mistake can cost so many positions on the grid. Nonetheless, both drivers seemed happy with the car and this gives us confidence for tomorrow. Overtaking is hard on this track, but as this team has shown in previous years it can be done. With an aggressive strategy we should be able to target points for both cars.”