Sahara Force India enjoyed a strong qualifying performance this afternoon as Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez set the sixth and seventh fastest times of the day ahead of tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix.
P6. Nico Hülkenberg: “I’m very satisfied with sixth place today and our qualifying performance is a great team result. Even though we’ve had limited running here in practice, I’ve had a good feeling with the car – there is a nice balance and it’s giving me confidence. The result today is probably the maximum we could achieve when you look at the cars ahead of us and it means we’re starting in a great position for tomorrow. The race is going to be interesting because there are still some unknowns about how the tyres will behave over long runs and the strategy calls won’t be easy. I’m looking forward to the race and converting this grid position into some good points.”
P7. Sergio Perez: “It’s always tricky to get the car where you want it to be when you don’t do much running in practice, but it’s a good result for the team and I believe we got the most we could from the session. This is not an easy track to put a good lap together and getting the tyres to the right temperature is a challenge, so I think we can be pleased with this result. I set my best lap on used tyres, which shows that the supersoft tyres take a long time to reach their best. There are still a few question marks about the performance of the tyres during long runs, which will make it very interesting tomorrow, but I don’t expect degradation to be very high. We have a very good chance to be competitive in the race; it will be a tough one but I’m confident we can come away from it with some big points.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “It was hard to separate our two drivers this afternoon with just four hundredths of a second between Nico and Sergio at the end of Q3. We knew coming into this weekend that we had the potential to get both cars inside the top ten and our performance today is another demonstration of just how competitive the VJM08 has become as the season has progressed. Getting the tyres in their correct operating window was a challenge today and considering the lack of mileage leading up to qualifying the team and drivers did a great job to optimise things as much as possible. What is important now is that we convert these promising starting positions into good points to strengthen our fifth place in the championship.”