Nico Hulkenberg: “Days like this are very encouraging”

Nico Hulkenberg took to the track for the first time in the new Sahara Force India VJM09 on Wednesday at the Circuit de Catalunya and promptly set the pace on the Supersoft Pirelli tyre.

The German had been forced to watch from the sidelines on the first two days as first Alfonso Celis Jr then Sergio Perez took their turn in the 2016 car, but after finally taking his turn, Hulkenberg had some positive initial thoughts of the new car, and believed it was an encouraging start ahead of the new season.

“A positive day for me and I’ve come away with some good first impressions as we continue to learn about this car,” said Hulkenberg. “We tried quite a lot of things today and, although we need to do some more fine-tuning, it does feel like we are moving in the right direction.

“The important thing is that we are getting lots of laps under our belt at this early stage and we are able to start exploring different set-ups. Melbourne is not far away, but it feels like we are on schedule and days like this are very encouraging.

“You never know what the other teams are doing so we’re just focusing on ourselves and working hard.”