FORMULA ONE / ‘We are quite well prepared going into qualifying sessions’
“Not my favourite track.”
This categorical declaration from Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was quite understandable considering the trouble he faced during Friday’s second session of free practice at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC).
Hulkenburg, who was here in March, did notice the small changes made to the track.
“It was my first experience of the circuit today and I have to say they have done a really nice job. There’s a good flow to the lap and the second sector is very technical and challenging.
“The programme for me today was quite straightforward because we managed to do everything we wanted. I completed a decent long run on the soft tyres this afternoon and I think we are quite well prepared going into tomorrow.”
Paul di Resta was more forthcoming in his views.
“It was not an easy (second) session for me. The balance is still not perfect and we need to work hard to try and improve that before final practice. The main issue of the day was the puncture I picked up half-way through (the second session) because I missed out on my high-fuel run on the soft tyres.
“Also, it was hard to get a clean lap during my low fuel run because the track was so busy. We’ve got data with the other car, but it would have been helpful to have run more laps and got a proper feel for the soft.”
Force India’s Chief Engineer Jakob Andreason explained the difficulties faced by his drivers. “The circuit was quite green this morning with very low grip so that made it difficult to learn too much.
The priority was to get Nico (Hulkenberg) up-to-speed quickly and pick up some data on a few test items, which all went to plan.
“The afternoon was less straightforward, largely because Paul picked up a puncture after his low fuel run on the soft tyres. That meant he missed out on his long run. Fortunately, we got all the data we needed with Nico’s programme, but it certainly put Paul on the back foot. In terms of car balance we still have some work to do to get the car where we want it, but we have the data we need to make sure we can pick the right options for Saturday.”
Now it remains to be seen how the Force India drivers are placed following Saturday’s qualification session. A higher place on the starting grid on Sunday will also ensure more support from the stands for this “home” team.