The Sahara Force India team saw the storm that struck the Sepang circuit during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix end their chances of making it through into the final part of qualifying, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez ending the session thirteenth and fourteenth fastest.
Hulkenberg bemoaned the timing of the rainfall in Malaysia, with the German admitting he would have prepared a more even playing field to be able to set a lap time. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up eliminated as a result.
“It was a short qualifying session in the end with the rain arriving quite early in Q2,” said Hulkenberg. “Maybe it would have been better for us if the rain had arrived five minutes earlier and Q2 was completely wet because everybody was able to complete a lap on slicks when the track was quite dry.
“It was only on the in-lap that the skies really opened. As it happens I think it would have been very difficult to reach Q3 anyway.
“The race tomorrow will be tough, especially managing the tyres in the high temperatures. There is always the chance of more rain and that’s when you have to adapt quickly because it’s all about being on the right tyre at the right moment. Whatever happens we will try our best to come away with some points.”
Team-mate Perez admitted he was out of position in qualifying, ending up at the back of the queue in the pit lane that affected his chances of making it through when the rain struck. Despite this, he feels the team are about where he reckons they should be on the grid.
“It was really tough out there in these conditions,” revealed Perez. “I was the last car out on track in Q2 and that compromised my lap on the mediums – our strategy was the right one but we were just a bit late in going out and by the time I got to sectors two and three the track was starting to get wet.
“All in all, I think where we are is a fair reflection of our current pace. We are hoping to be in a better position than others tomorrow because our focus has been directed towards the race rather than qualifying.
“We’ve seen in Melbourne that anything can happen so I will approach the race aiming for points.”