Sahara Force India’s Team Principal Vijay Mallya is pleased with the result of the 2014 Grand Prix de Monaco. The Silverstone based team equalled their best ever result in the principality when Nico Hulkenberg took ten points from the street race. Sergio Perez wasn’t as fortunate however after he clashed with the McLaren-Mercedes of Jenson Button and was forced into retirement on lap 1.
Hulkenberg’s race was highlighted by a succession of do-or-die moves at sportier. He then made his Super Soft Pirelli tyres last 51 laps to the end of the Grand Prix to hold on to fifth place despite some gentle contact with the barriers on multiple occasions.
Hulkenberg was thrilled with the result saying, “Ten points today is a great reward after such a difficult race. The last twenty laps were really tricky because my supersoft tyres were at the end of their life and it was hard to hold off the cars behind me and stay away from the barriers.
“There were a few close moments when I kissed the wall, but I survived and managed to hold on to fifth place. Fortunately my car was quick in the right places – going into the tunnel and also through the final corner. There were some enjoyable moments in the race, especially my move on Magnussen. He had to let the Toro Rosso back through and he lost a bit of momentum so I saw my opportunity to stick my nose down the inside of turn eight. On a track like Monaco it gives you a big smile to make the move stick.”
Perez’s strategy was different from the start where he launched into the race on used Super Softs compared to Hulkenberg’s new Softs. He didn’t manage to make it very far however after a clash with Button at Mirabeau put him into the wall and out of the race.
Sergio Perez has now turned his attention to the Ille Notre Dame and Canadian Grand Prix where he hopes he can show the pace of the VJM07. He said, “I was in a battle with Nico, who was ahead, and I went to take the apex normally. I was on the racing line and ahead of Jenson when he clipped my rear wheel and spun me around into the barriers. I did not expect him to be there as there wasn’t really any space for another car there. It was very unlucky.
“As a racing driver you have good and bad Sundays but this is definitely one I want to forget as soon as possible. It is disappointing that we lost a big chance to score a good amount of points, but the car felt much better here than in Spain, as shown by Nico’s result. This is a very positive signal looking ahead to Montreal.”
Mallya added, “Today’s race equals our best ever result in Monaco, so I am obviously very pleased about Nico’s performance. He drove a very clean and strong race, and was able to withstand incredible pressure in the last 20 laps to finish fifth despite being on very old tyres. He also pulled off one of the best overtaking moves of this season, so I think he will remember this day for a long time.
“Unfortunately, today also saw some disappointment as Checo was punted into the barrier on lap one. I am confident he would have been firmly in the fight to score big points as well, but I’m also sure he will bounce back immediately. Our pace looked really strong which is a good sign as we prepare for the next race in Canada.”
Sahara Force India now hold fourth in the Constructor’s Championship, fifteen points clear of McLaren and only eleven short of Scuderia Ferrari. Nico Hulkenberg sits 5th in the driver’s battle 7 points away from Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo while Perez sits tenth, one point short of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and only eleven points off his former team mate Button.