Sahara Force India showed well in today’s qualifying hour with Nico Hulkenberg securing a ninth place starting position for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix. Teammate Sergio Perez starts one row behind in eleventh place.
P9 Nico Hülkenberg VJM09-03
Nico: “I’m feeling happy with our performance today. You always want to be higher up, but I think we maximised our opportunities and ninth is a solid effort, which should bring us some good points tomorrow. The margins were very small, so it was important to deliver the laps without any mistakes because even a couple of tenths can cost you four of five positions on the grid. The conditions were quite stable and even the rain during Q1 didn’t affect the grip levels too much. If the rain comes back tomorrow, it will definitely make things interesting, especially if it’s heavy rain because aquaplaning can be an issue here on the smooth surface. If it stays dry, I will have to start on the ultra-soft tyres, just like everybody else in the top ten, and try and use a good strategy to move forward.”
P11 Sergio Perez VJM09-02
Sergio: “I knew reaching Q3 was going to be difficult because we had to use more tyres than we would have wanted in Q1. It meant we only really had one set of ultra-softs available in Q2 to get the job done. In any case, I gave it all I could and the end result was P11, which is not a bad place to start the race. In Montreal, you can expect the unexpected, especially with the weather being in the balance, so there’s everything to play for tomorrow. I think we’re looking good in racing conditions with solid pace so we can definitely fight for some good points.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“We knew heading into qualifying that we would need to deliver perfect laps in order to reach Q3, so to be lining up in ninth and eleventh is a good effort. The weather kept us guessing for most of the session and, despite some light drizzle, it was not enough to influence the proceedings. Nico’s laps were clean and tidy, but we didn’t quite have the pace to get on level terms with the top eight. As for Sergio, he just missed out on Q3, but starting eleventh means he can choose the tyres he starts on tomorrow. Strategy will be crucial for the race, so hopefully we can make this small advantage count. The uncertain weather forecast also means that it’s difficult to make any predictions. If it’s dry, our race pace will be strong, based on what we saw during our long runs yesterday, but we also know we can be strong in the wet too. Whatever happens we’ve put ourselves in a good position to score points with both cars.”