It was a tale of contrasting fortunes for the Sahara Force India team today at Spa. Nico Hulkenberg equalled his best result of the season so far with a strong fourth place finish. Meanwhile, Paul di Resta was hampered with a failed KERS unit, meaning he finished tenth.
The two drivers made the best of the first corner carnage to jump up the order, but with a non-functioning KERS unit, it proved to be a frustrating race for di Resta as he dropped back down the field.
“A tough race for me largely due to the KERS failure on the car just before the race, which really hurt my performance and speed on the straights. I couldn’t really attack or defend, which is a shame because I was up to fourth place at the start, but we couldn’t capitalise on it. I kept battling and tried my best to come away with the final point, but so much more was possible today,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hulkenberg was delighted with his fourth place finish, as he battled in illustrious company alongside Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen for much of the race.
“I’m delighted with the result today – my best finish in Formula One. It’s a result that the whole team has worked hard for and I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the guys because everything went perfectly today. The start was eventful, but fortunately I avoided all the debris and was able to take advantage of the situation,” the German driver said.
“I was up a high as second and for a while I was even thinking we could finish on the podium. But the race was tough; I had some great fights with Kimi and Michael, and I was always on the limit. For us it was clear that we had to stop twice and we made the strategy work. So I’ve got a big smile on my face today because it’s just the result we needed for our fight in the championship.”
“Spa usually delivers drama and great racing, and today’s Grand Prix was full of both. Nico drove a brilliant race to finish fourth on a day when it was important to capitalise on the first lap incident that befell some of our competitors. He stayed out of trouble and ran as high as second after the safety car and showed strong pace with a perfect two-stop strategy,” the team’s boss Vijay Mallya added.
“We’ve been waiting for a result like this for a while and it’s a great reward for Nico and the entire team. We could have scored even more points had Paul’s race not been compromised by the KERS failure, and he did well to pick up a point today. The result is important for our fight in the constructors’ championship because we have now moved ahead of Williams. We will try and carry this momentum into Monza next weekend.”