Sahara Force India showed strong form during the qualifying hour as Nico Hulkenberg qualified in tenth place for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, with Paul Di Resta a row further back in twelfth. The top-10 grid spot is the fourth in the last six starts for Hulkenberg, while Di Resta’s 12th-place starting position marks the first time in the last five races that the Brit has not gridded in the top 10.
Hulkenberg had a good day going on the Hungaroring, putting up a great lap in Q2 that – had he done it in the third session – would have been good enough for sixth. He settled for 10th in Q3 after putting up a time of 1:22.847
“I’m happy to be in the top ten but not satisfied with my quick lap in Q3. I tried too hard and made a mistake, got some dirt on my tires and couldn’t recover the lap,” Hulkenberg said. “So I’m a bit disappointed, but at the same time I’m focusing on the positives because we looked competitive during the session. Now we need to do the same in the race and pick up points.”
Di Resta had a better first session than his teammate but failed to get out of Q2 after a fruitless search for clear racetrack left his Pirellis in less-than-optimal shape.
“I think there was more potential in the car today, but I couldn’t get the laptime when it counted during Q2,” told Di Resta. “The main issue was trying to find track position and I had to push very hard on my out lap to make some space, which probably took too much out of the tires. It’s a shame because we were very quick in Q1 and the car has been working well here. We can still have a good race, but it won’t be easy with the high temperatures and the fact that it’s never easy to overtake here.”
“We showed good pace today, but we didn’t quite maximize our performance when it mattered,” said SFI Managing Director Dr. Vijay Mallya. “Nico did a superb lap to make Q3, but a small error on his final quick lap cost him several positions on the grid. Paul has a similar situation in Q2 when the tire performance dropped off at the end of the lap and he missed out on making the top ten. The good news is that we’ve shown that we have a quick car here in Budapest and hopefully we can demonstrate that again tomorrow when it really counts.”