A frustrating session in Austria saw the Sahara Force India team qualify tenth with Nico Hulkenberg and sixteenth for Sergio Perez after his penalty from his Canada crash was applied. The team have shown strong race pace all season long and will be looking to score big points at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.
Hulkenberg’s one fast lap in the final part of qualifying was deleted due to exceeding the track limits at turn eight so will start in tenth. He feels he is in a good position heading into the Grand Prix and will be looking to extend his 100% points scoring run in 2014.
“It’s quite an interesting grid so it looks like there are all the ingredients for an exciting race,” said Hulkenberg. “I felt pretty good through all of qualifying and was building up my speed nicely for Q3. It’s a shame my lap in Q3 was disallowed, but it’s difficult when you’re pushing so hard and I obviously ran a little bit wide. At the end of the day losing the lap only changed the result by a few positions so I’m still in good shape for the race.
“It’s been a long time since Formula One was last here so there are a lot of unanswered questions going into the race. We don’t know how the different strategies will unfold, or how the tyres will behave, but I think we’ve shown recently that we have a very strong racecar. Points will be the goal tomorrow.”
Perez was unable to put together a clean lap during the second part of qualifying and missed out on Q3 by less than a tenth of a second. The five place grid-drop penalty will see him start sixteenth but he hopeful of a better race on Sunday and with the strong race pace of the Force India he is looking to score some points.
“We tried to do just one flying lap on my last Q2 run but unfortunately it was not possible to put together the perfect lap,” said Perez. “This is a very tricky circuit and we struggled to get the tyres working at their best, but I don’t think that will be so much of an issue tomorrow. It will be a very challenging race and starting five places back from where we qualified won’t be easy, but we need to look ahead and see what can be done to improve our position tomorrow.
“The first lap will be important and strategy will be crucial to get a good result because overtaking looks to be difficult around here. We have a lot of tyres available for the race so we should try and use this to our advantage to move up into the points.”
Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley felt the team had a solid afternoon at the Red Bull Ring having solved some of the balance problems both drivers suffered on Friday. He hopes the long run pace that the team have shown to be strong all season long will allow Force India to score points again.
“It’s been a very solid afternoon by the team, which sets us up nicely for tomorrow,” said Fernley. “The progress made overnight and this morning solved a lot of the balance problems we experienced yesterday and we were in good shape going into qualifying. Checo was close to making Q3, but Nico made the cut only for his quick lap to be disallowed. He will line up in P10, but with the long run pace we showed yesterday both cars have every chance of moving forward and coming away with some more important points.”