Japanese GP post race: Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India scored eight points in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg finishing in sixth place. Sergio Perez suffered a puncture on the opening lap, which cost the Mexican the chance of scoring points.

P6 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: New Mediums (10 laps) – New Hards (21 laps) – New Hards (22 laps)
“A great result today and realistically sixth was the maximum we could achieve when you remember that I started from P13. I made a really good start and jumped a couple of cars away from the line, and then stayed on the inside going into turn one, which turned out to be a good decision. By turn two I was up in eighth, close up behind the Lotuses and actually they were holding me up during the first stint. The team pitted me early to undercut them and we then out-raced them with our stronger pace. It was a lonely race for me, but effective and the result is very welcome. The team did a great job today and I think we deserved these eight points.”

P12 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: Used Mediums (1 lap) – New Hards (17 laps) – New Hards (18 laps) – Used Hards (16 laps)
“Twelfth place is a very disappointing outcome for a weekend that had started really well. Unfortunately, my race was an uphill battle from the first corner: I saw Massa going slowly in the centre of the track and had to avoid him, and that’s when I got the hit (from Sainz). We tried to recover and I did all I could to get back into the points, but even our best was not enough. It’s a shame as our pace was really good, but with no safety car or any other incidents, the points were too far away. It was still a good result for the team with Nico scoring points, something that will help us with our championship battle.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“We leave Suzuka with the confidence of having a very strong car but also the feeling of disappointment for not getting both cars in the points. Nico drove a tactically brilliant race: he made another great start to regain the ground he had lost through his grid penalty and then had a fairly lonely race. He executed our strategy perfectly, leapfrogging the two Lotuses during the first pit stop window, and from then on he worked hard to continuously increase his gap. Sixth was the maximum he could have got today and it’s just the result Nico needed after a difficult run of races. Unfortunately, Sergio could do nothing to escape the incident at turn one: he moved to the right to avoid Massa, who was driving slowly, and he was hit by Sainz. Sergio avoided hitting the wall, but his race was heavily compromised by the puncture. He performed a solid comeback and showed very good pace, but the points were just out of reach. Even though we conceded two points in the battle for fifth place, we take encouragement from having such a well-executed race with Nico and the pace of the car.”

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