It was a much improved qualifying effort from the Sahara Force India team in Bahrain, with Nico Hulkenberg qualifying eighth and Sergio Perez eleventh for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Hulkenberg was delighted to see himself qualify eighth in Bahrain, and felt the changes the team made overnight to the car enabled him to be quick in the cooler conditions. He feels ready to battle for points in Sunday’s race.
“P8 – I’m happy with that,” insisted Hulkenberg. “I think we extracted the most we could from the car today. Overnight we made some good tweaks to the set-up and that helped, especially in these slightly cooler temperatures.
“It was quite windy, but it didn’t impact on us too badly and all of my laps were pretty good. Points will be the goal tomorrow, but it won’t be easy because there are a lot of quick cars behind us and they will put pressure on us.
“We need to make the best of the car we have and hopefully come away with a good result. Bahrain always produces good racing with the DRS zones and tyre degradation will be an important factor in the ace. Whatever happens, we are ready for the fight.”
Team-mate Perez agreed that progress had been made in Bahrain, and was positive despite missing out on Q3 in the dying moments of the session after being beaten by the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr. He felt the conditions and the nature of the Bahraini circuit played to his car’s strengths, and is hoping for a top ten finish on Sunday.
“Even though I’m frustrated at missing out on Q3 by just a few hundredths of a second, I think we can be satisfied about the big step forward today,” said Perez.
“It would have been an amazing result to have both cars in the top ten, but eleventh on the grid is something we can be happy about and it’s the result of a massive effort by everyone in the team.
“Today both our car and the track characteristics played into our hands, possibly more than we were anticipating. This result is also a matter of learning the best way to set up this car.
“The sixth row is a good place to start and I’m optimistic about getting some good points tomorrow. We have shown to be pretty good around here: we had strong pace during our longer runs yesterday and this should give us a chance of a strong result.”