The Sahara Force India team saw both drivers qualify in the top ten for their home Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Nico Hulkenberg an impressive fourth and Sergio Perez seventh. Both drivers are hoping for a strong race on Sunday to bring home points for the team.
Hulkenberg was one of the drivers to profit from the improved conditions at the end of the third part of qualifying, and rose from ninth up to fourth as the flag fell. He was surprised to see the track dry so quickly in the final sector, where most of the time was to be found.
“That worked out really well for us and I’m very happy to come away with fourth place on the grid,” said Hulkenberg. “On days like this you just need to be in the right place, with good timing and a little bit of luck. The track conditions were changing so much and at the end of Q3 I’ve never seen a track dry so quickly. There were a few spots of rain in the middle of the session, but on my final lap it was completely dry.
“Fourth place sets us up nicely for tomorrow, but it’s hard to know exactly where we stand in terms of race pace. We definitely made some progress with the car balance overnight with some tweaks and it was a lot less windy today, which worked in our favour. There is an interesting grid, which will hopefully make for an exciting race for the fans.”
Team-mate Perez was slightly disappointed with his seventh place on the grid, after being as high as third earlier in the session. He felt a mistake he made on his second quick lap cost him the chance of remaining on the front couple of rows, but he was happy to see Hulkenberg climb to fourth.
“Today leaves us with mixed feelings,” admitted Perez. “It was very good to get both cars in Q3 and ahead of some of our most direct competitors. Had they offered us this result before the session, we would have been satisfied; however, it is also disappointing as we know we could have had an even better result. We were in P3 up to the last lap, but when the track improved and I went out for a last run I ran a bit wide in turn 12 and lost all the temperature from my tyres. I also had to let some cars through and that made it a big problem for me. Otherwise I am confident we would have improved enough to stay in the front two rows.
“It’s a shame because we were making the tyres work really well until that moment and we were making the most of the conditions. Still, it is a very positive result and we should have a good opportunity to convert it into a good race and a lot of points. Silverstone is a very difficult place to overtake and track position is very important, so I am confident in that respect.”
Team Principal and Managing Director Dr Vijay Mallya was delighted with the performance of his team in what is their home event. Mallya is confident of a strong performance in race, which has been their strongest attribute so far in 2014, so to qualify well bodes well for Sunday.
“Today we had a very good result, which is always very nice in our home race,” said Mallya. “We have placed both cars in Q3 in very difficult conditions, which is a great credit to both the team and our drivers: we were on the right tyre at the right time and we reaped the rewards of some good strategy calls.
“It is a shame Checo was not able to finish his second lap as we thought we could retain his good position, but fourth row is still a very positive place to start and he has shown us before that he can make up positions come race day. Nico was impressive as he pulled a great lap when it mattered on a drying track.
“Starting fourth and seventh gives us a very good chance to score points and continue our battle in the constructors’ championship. Race pace is one of our strongest assets so we can look forward to tomorrow with confidence.”