It was a pleasing start to the season for the Sahara Force India team in Australia, with both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finishing inside the top ten and in the points.
Despite the promising afternoon at Albert Park, both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez felt they still have to find some performance with their new VJM08 car that only debuted on track with two and a half days of pre-season testing remaining.
Hulkenberg had a relatively quiet race, making a two-stop strategy work for him as he finished in seventh position, securing six World Championship points in the process, and hopes the team will able to move forward in Malaysia in two weeks time.
“I am very pleased with today’s result and starting the season with two cars in the points is always positive,” insisted Hulkenberg.
“It was a good race; I didn’t make any mistakes and, while the reliability of our car helped us take advantage of the problems of others, at this stage in the season it is important to capitalise on any opportunity.
“We were ready when it counted; we had a good strategy and we delivered under the pressure. In terms of performance we are not yet where we would like to be, but everyone is working really hard to get there and make our car quicker.
“With points on the board we can now look forward to Malaysia in a couple of weeks and hopefully take another step forward.”
Team-mate Perez had a more exciting race, with an early trip through the gravel trap before a spin whilst attempting to pass the McLaren-Honda of Jenson Button, whom he had been forced to concede position to after passing the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson under safety car conditions, but recovered to pass the Briton for the final point on offer.
“It was one of those unusual races where so many things happened, but I’m certainly happy to come away with a point and see Nico also score good points for the team,” said Perez.
“We went for a different strategy compared to Nico to maximise the team’s chances so I started on the medium tyres in order to have the advantage on the softs at the end of the race.
“Unfortunately, after the safety car the FIA asked me to give a place back to Ericsson, which also meant dropping behind Button, and that was really painful for my race. Button was on the soft tyres and, although I was quicker, it was not easy to overtake and I lost a lot of track position.
“Still, I’m focussing on the positives of scoring a point from a difficult race, which is a good result for the team.”