Nico Hulkenberg: “P12 is probably the most that was possible today”

The Sahara Force India team had a mixed Saturday afternoon in Brazil, with Nico Hulkenberg making it through to the second part of qualifying at Interlagos to qualify twelfth, while Sergio Perez concentrated on race set-up after heading into the weekend knowing he’d be taking a grid penalty, ending his day in Q1 having set the seventeenth best time.

Hulkenberg believed he got the most out of his car as possible in qualifying to place twelfth, and is hoping to be able to challenge for points on Sunday come rain or shine.

“It was a pretty straightforward day and actually the whole weekend has been smooth on my side of the garage,” said Hulkenberg. “It’s just that we haven’t been as competitive as we would like and for various reasons the car is not in complete harmony with this track. It’s been quite difficult to find a rhythm and be consistent – so from that perspective P12 is probably the most that was possible today.

“Tomorrow I think we can challenge for points and maybe the weather will mix things up.”

After missing both practice sessions on Friday, and knowing he had a seven-place grid penalty for the race after his altercation with Adrian Sutil in Austin, Perez admitted that he was focused on getting a good set-up for the race on Saturday, and compromised his qualifying opportunities because of this.

“It hasn’t been an easy weekend for us and we knew today would be a struggle because of the lack of running on Friday,” said Perez. “So our focus has always been on the race and I think we made quite a lot of progress in final practice by concentrating on long runs rather than qualifying preparation.

“The race here at Interlagos is always quite unpredictable so I still believe we can have a good result tomorrow and leave here with some points.”