The Sahara Force India team had a difficult race weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya, but both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg managed to salvage points finishes when the car was not as strong as it had been in previous events. Mexican Perez finished ninth, just ahead of his German team-mate Hulkenberg in tenth.
For Perez, he managed to convert a twelfth place grid spot into a ninth place finish and two championship points, but he felt that he could have possibly finished a maximum of seventh on a track that the team admitted did not suit its car, and where overtaking is extremely difficult to pull off.
“It was quite a hard afternoon, so to come away with two points is not too bad,” said Perez. “I had pretty strong pace in the race and my tyre degradation was okay so I think we probably could have been a bit more aggressive with the strategy. Maybe if we had stopped earlier I could have jumped ahead of some more cars because my pace was good, but it was just so difficult to overtake.
“We knew this track would be a tough test for us, so this result is more or less what we expected here. Maybe P7 or P8 was achievable today, but we should feel quite happy to keep up our run of points.”
Hulkenberg also felt he got the best result he could have got with the car, but managed to make a two-stop strategy work so he could grab a point to continue his run of scoring at every race this season.
“It was a case of damage limitation today,” admitted Hulkenberg. “We knew from the early practice sessions that this wasn’t going to be our strongest track so to get two cars in the points is a positive result. The tyre degradation was high and the car was not so easy to drive, but I think everybody was struggling in the final part of the race.
“I thought we would need to make a third stop, but fortunately the tyres held on and I was able to score a point. We will use all the data we got over the weekend to improve for the next few races where we hope to be a bit more competitive.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, the Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India, believed the result in Spain was a reasonable indication of where the team’s pace was all weekend. He was happy though to keep the run of points-scoring races going that begun in the opening race of the season in Australia.
“There were few surprises in this race and our final result of ninth and tenth is a fair reflection of the pace we have shown during this weekend,” said Mallya. “This circuit was never going to play to our strengths and yet we still managed to secure a double points finish. It means we’ve scored points in every race so far this year and this keeps up our momentum in the championship.
“Like everyone, we suffered with high tyre degradation and it was tricky to make the right decisions on when to stop. We felt we were quite aggressive with both car strategies, but in hindsight we probably could have pushed the limits even more.
“We now head to Monaco with 57 points and sitting in a strong fourth place in the championship.”