The Sahara Force India team arrive at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend hoping to continue the momentum of the Bahraini weekend where Nico Hulkenberg qualified inside the top ten and Sergio Perez secured his second points finish of the season in eighth.
On the back of his maiden World Endurance Championship race last weekend with Porsche in Belgium, Hulkenberg now returns to his primary drive in Formula 1 in Spain, and knows finding the right balance on his car will be essential to have a good weekend.
“The Barcelona race is one of the best weekends on the calendar,” said Hulkenberg. “The locals are passionate and there’s always a big crowd on race day, so the atmosphere is great.
“We all know the Barcelona track really well. You have to think about how to approach a lap because it’s important to look after your tyres. If you take too much out of them in the first sector, you end up paying the price in the final one, so finding the right balance is the key.
“The first two sectors are fairly straightforward and they are the quickest sections of the track, while the final part of the lap is more technical and low speed.
“As a whole, there is a nice mix of different corners which makes this a very interesting circuit.”
Team-mate Perez is ready to race in Spain having had a strong performance in Bahrain three weeks ago, and admitted the result gave the team a much needed confidence boost after a troubled start to the season. The Mexican hopes for the momentum to remain with the team this weekend.
“It’s nice to get to Barcelona following a good result in Bahrain,” insisted Perez. “The last race was definitely a bit of a confidence boost for everyone and we will try to keep up this momentum in Spain.
“At the same time we expect a more challenging weekend because the characteristics of the circuit are very different to Bahrain with a lot more high-speed corners.
“As a track, Barcelona is a demanding place to drive a Formula One car, with both fast and slow sections. It’s a big test of the aero package – similar to somewhere like Sepang. Overtaking is never easy because it’s difficult to get really close to another car, so good track position really pays off.
“The DRS zones have made it a bit easier to overtake, but you still need to be quite a bit faster than the cars you are racing.”