Nico Hulkenberg admits Force India need to “raise their game” if they are to challenge for more points in Abu Dhabi. The German was only thirteenth on Friday and is keen to improve the balance in time for qualifying.
“I think it’s still difficult to know where our performance level is right now, but we probably need to raise our game and improve a bit overnight if we want to challenge for points. The balance is not perfect just yet so we need to work tonight to get the car closer to the sweet spot. Apart from that we got through the programme, collected all the tyre data and so it was a fairly normal Friday.”
Teammate Paul Di Resta was fifteenth overall and is also looking at areas where he can improve the car in order to threaten the top ten in qualifying.
“I think we learned quite a lot this evening, but there’s a lot of work ahead of us to understand where we stand and where we can improve. This track is all about grip in the low and medium speed corners and that’s where we need to focus tonight. In terms of tyres we collected a lot of data today so we will be working hard to make sure we get them in the right operating window for qualifying and the race.”
Jules Bianchi drove Di Resta’s VJM05 during FP1 and having driven here before, was delighted with the speed at which he got to grips with the Yas Marina circuit.
“It think this was probably my best free practice session so far. I’ve done lots of testing here before so I know the track really well and felt very comfortable. The programme was quite simple with three runs, lots of laps and we improved the car with each run. The track improved a lot during the session, but the tyres went off quite quickly so it was difficult to improve my times at the end of the session.”