Sahara Force India had another good run in free practice today as Nico Hulkneberg and Sergio Perez finished both sessions inside the top ten.
Perez once again outpaced his team-mate Hulkenberg, finishing eighth in P1 and sixth in a damp P2. Hulkenberg wasn’t far behind though, finishing tenth and seventh in P1 and P2.
P2 was disrupted by rain, so the team struggled to complete their full programme due to limited running. Perez however feels confident going into qualifying, after consistently running inside the top eight in both sessions. “The day was disrupted by the weather so the work we have done is quite limited. I feel happy with the car and we rain in the top eight all day so it’s been positive.”
“That’s where we need to be aiming for Saturday because qualifying well here is so important. There are still quite a few unknowns because I did not manage to do any long runs or race preparation, but it’s the same for everyone.”
Hulkenberg also ran well in both sessions despite the rain in P2, but doesn’t feel as comfortable with the car as his team-mate does. “The wet weather did not give us an opportunity to run much this afternoon, but I feel we have made the most of the time available this morning. In terms of performance the car is feeling okay and we just need to make some set-up tweaks and work on the balance before Saturday.”
Like his team-mate, Hulkenberg understands the importance of a good qualifying position at Monaco to have a good race on Sunday. “The focus has to be on qualifying here because it’s even more important than at any other track. So we just need to optimise the car to be ready for Saturday.”
The wet track was a big problem for all the teams who didn’t want to run the risk of an accident on the narrow circuit. Team Principal Vijay Mallya said the team knew rain was coming so used the morning session to maximise their running time.
“We knew there was rain on the way so we tried to maximise the dry track time this morning. We made use of the extra set of tyres in the opening 30 minutes and completed the usual set-up tests to gather some data.”
“The wet weather meant we missed out on the usual high fuel running this afternoon, but Nico did one long run this morning to give us some data, which will be useful for our race preparation.”