The Sahara Force India team ran strongly at Hockenheim and once again saw both drivers score points, with Nico Hulkenberg seventh and Sergio Perez tenth. Both drivers were expecting more from their German Grand Prix, and both would have been happier with the temperatures of Friday and Saturday after the race was held in much cooler conditions.
Hulkenberg continued his amazing run of points scoring races with seventh, but felt it was a difficult race due to the lower temperatures. He also had to contend with an engine issue during the race but was able to solve that problem to claim his tenth point’s score out of ten races.
“It was a difficult race and different to what we expected, mainly due to the lower temperatures with the track being 20 degrees cooler than on Friday,” said Hulkenberg. “We were expecting a lot of rear degradation, but after a couple of laps it became clear the fronts were the limiting tyres, and that changed the game. It was a pretty challenging afternoon and, considering how the car felt, I think we got the maximum from the race.
“I also had to overcome some engine issues in the middle of the race because there were some hesitations and it was not driving smoothly. It was a good recovery by the team to solve the issue. It was important to score more points and from that point of view I’m feeling satisfied.”
Team-mate Perez took the final point on offer in tenth, jumping ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at the final round of pit stops. He was struggling for balance throughout the race, and felt, like his team-mate, that the car was much more difficult to drive in the lower temperatures. He was therefore happy to leave Hockenheim with a point.
“I was hoping for more at the start of the race, but I couldn’t make my tyres last as we usually do and I therefore struggled with the balance for most of the day,” said Perez. “It was a very strange race; the track changed a lot compared to Friday and it was the front tyres that were suffering from degradation and not the rears. Together with the much lower temperatures, it made the car very difficult to drive.
“These things considered, to come away with a point was a good result in the end, but we we’ll need to achieve more at the races coming up to keep fighting in the championship.”
Deputy Team Principal of Force India Robert Fernley admitted the team were expecting to be more competitive during the German Grand Prix but the drop in temperature cost them dearly. He was happy Hulkenberg was able to make a two-stop strategy work, but was disappointed that Perez was forced onto a three-stop after excessive tyre wear on his car.
“We were expecting to be stronger in the race today, but the drop in temperatures didn’t help us and both drivers struggled to show the pace we had seen during our long runs on Friday,” said Fernley. “Sergio did not feel comfortable and it became clear early on that he would need to stop three times. With Nico we managed a two-stop race and he brought the car home in seventh place.
“Considering the challenges we faced today, we can’t be disappointed to come away with seven points. It keeps us in fifth place in the standings and demonstrates once again that we can score good points even on days when both drivers are struggling with the balance. We now look forward to Budapest where more warm weather is forecast next weekend.”