Force India‘s running in Friday practice was severely hampered by an accident for test and reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg in the morning session.
Hulkenburg was driving Paul di Resta‘s car during first practice in Valencia when he was caught out by lack of grip on the street circuit and ditched the VJM04 into the unforgiving concrete walls that surround the track.
“I was one of the first drivers to start a proper run this morning when the track was quite green,” said the German. “Unfortunately I locked the rears under braking for turn 12 quite early in my run, the car turned left into the wall and caused quite a bit of damage. It all happened so quickly at 300 km/h and there was no chance to react and catch the car. I'm really sorry for the team and I've also apologised to Paul because it limited his time in the car this afternoon.”
Di Resta finished the day as the fourteenth fastest driver, completing seven laps of a track that he has not raced on before. “The way things unfolded today has been quite unfortunate,” said the Scot. “Nico's accident this morning meant that my car wasn't ready for the start of second practice and I had to sit and wait. The guys did a great job to get everything repaired in time for me to get out for the final few minutes of the session, but I only managed three timed laps. It means there is plenty of work to do in final practice tomorrow morning to make up for the lost track time.”
Adrian Sutil had a much better day than his team-mates though. He finished as the eleventh fastest driver and, over the two practice sessions, completed 51 laps:
“A pretty positive day for me,” said the German. “We had quite a lot of work to get through to evaluate our new aero parts, but that went well and the balance of the car felt okay from my first run. We worked a bit to improve things, such as the stability under braking, which is especially important here.
“As usual I ran both tyre compounds in the afternoon so that we have good data for tomorrow. The soft (option) tyre was very consistent and the degradation was not too bad so I think it's probably the better race tyre.”