Sahara Force India continued to show good speed in Suzuka as Nico Hulkenberg qualified in tenth place ahead of teammate Paul Di Resta in twelfth. The result marks the ninth consecutive race that Sahara Force India has qualified inside the top ten.
Nico Hulkenberg: “The build-up to qualifying was quite intense because the guys were working hard to repair my car after the accident this morning.
The car felt good straight away and we made it through to Q3, which was always the target. We then took a strategic decision to save tyres so I didn’t set a time.
That opens up the strategy for tomorrow, especially because we knew I would get a five-place grid penalty for changing the gearbox. There’s still a chance to get points tomorrow if we can make our strategy work.”
Paul Di Resta: “It was quite a tough session with traffic today and even on my quick lap in Q2 I was slightly compromised in the second sector.
I locked a wheel and it may only have cost half a tenth, but that’s how close the margin was to the top ten. I think given what happened yesterday with losing so much track time we can be pretty happy with our performance today.
We have got ourselves up there, close to the top ten and in with a chance of points. For tomorrow it’s clear that tyre wear will be a big issue for everyone, but hopefully we can use the strategy to challenge the people in front.
There are some question marks going into the race because I’ve done no high fuel running, but we have data with the other car.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “We’ve been reasonably competitive in all the sessions leading up to qualifying so we felt we had a car that was capable of reaching the top ten.
But the pressure was on to fix Nico’s car in the run up to qualifying and as a precaution we had to change the gearbox. As always the boys did a fantastic job to get the car running in time and Nico was immediately on the pace.
A place in Q3 was a good effort, although the gearbox penalty means he will drop down the grid. Paul has been playing catch up after losing track time yesterday and was close to making Q3 as well.
So we’ve done all we can to be in with a chance of points tomorrow and left ourselves plenty of flexibility with the strategy of both cars.”
Source: Sahara Force India Formula One Team