The Sahara Force India team have a history of being competitive around the streets of Singapore, but Friday’s practice this year indicated they might not be in line to match their best result of fourth place (by Paul di Resta in 2012) at the circuit. Both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg ran a good number of laps, but eight for the Mexican was their best performance.
Perez felt he had a good day, but feels the battle for qualifying will be incredibly close, and knows he will have to keep finding extra time during the third free practice session on Saturday. He finished tenth in the first free practice session, before climbing to eighth in the second.
“We had a good day in which we managed to complete our programme,” said Perez. “The first indications show that it will likely be a very close battle in qualifying; we need to keep working to find another couple of tenths because a good starting position will play a big part in the race.
“On Sunday it will be a matter of getting the strategy right and looking after the tyres. We ran on both compounds today and were able to assess their performance, but we know the heat will play a big role so being gentle on tyres will be a priority.”
Team-mate Hulkenberg finished twelfth in FP1 and ninth in FP2 but admitted after the conclusion of the sessions in Singapore that he was far from comfortable with the set-up of his car. He admits that free practice 3 on Saturday will be very important to trying to get the car better set-up so he is able to have a good race on Sunday.
“Completing all these laps with no major issues and ticking all the boxes in our schedule was a good starting point,” said Hulkenberg. “It was a regular Friday, from that point of view, even if I am not totally comfortable with the car just yet.
“We have a bit of work ahead of us, trying to understand the car a bit better and fine tuning its balance ahead of qualifying. Tomorrow will be about getting some more performance out of the car.”