The Sahara Force India drivers were both eliminated after the second part of qualifying, and both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were disappointed to qualify down in thirteenth and fifteenth position respectively for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Hulkenberg felt he could and should have qualified inside the top ten, but will have to start thirteenth. He is positive that he can make up places in the race, with the aim to finish inside the top ten and score points.
“The qualifying hour in Singapore is always intense and stressful, but I was hoping to be a bit more competitive and squeeze into the top ten,” said Hulkenberg. “As it turned out, a place in Q3 was a few tenths away, but my lap was pretty good.
“I feel quite positive about the race because I have a free choice on tyres for the start and Singapore is always a long and eventful race. There are a few strategy options because yesterday we saw a lot of tyre degradation on both the compounds. The target is to come away with points tomorrow.”
Team-mate Perez could do no better than fifteenth, and admitted he was surprised just how much the performance of his car had changed between practice and the qualifying session. Like Hulkenberg, he is hopeful of claiming points in the race, especially with the tyre degradation so severe.
“The track felt very different today and we were not expecting such a dramatic change coming into qualifying,” said Perez. “As the session went on, we struggled to get the tyres to work in the way we wanted. We headed out early in Q2 to try and get a clean out lap and prepare the tyres, but obviously we knew this would give away something in terms of performance with the track evolution. Even with these choices, we weren’t able to make the progress we wanted.
“Looking at the race we know that overtaking on this circuit is quite difficult, but with a good start and a strong strategy we can make up some places. This track is very harsh in terms of tyre degradation and I expect it to play a big part tomorrow. It will be a battle to get some good points, but on a track like this everything is possible.”