Sahara Force India looks forward to the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
Italian GP: Vijay’s Vision
Dr Mallya toasts the team’s best result of the season and sets his sights on more points in Monza.
The team delivered a big result in Spa with fourth place for Nico – what was your verdict on that performance?
I think it was probably our most competitive showing of the year in terms of race pace. Nico ended the race just a couple of seconds behind Raikkonen and came very close to the podium. In terms of strategy, the pit wall called things perfectly and Nico did the rest by racing hard and making no mistakes.
Paul was also in the top ten bringing the team 13 points and moving the team ahead of Williams…
Spa was the fourth race this year when we’ve had two cars finish in the points. I’ve been saying this is what we need to do if we want to catch Sauber and recapture our sixth place finish in the championship. If Paul had not suffered with the KERS issue, I’m convinced we would have come away from Spa with even more points.
How tough is the fight in the midfield at the moment?
I remember this time last year saying that it was the most competitive season ever in the midfield – but this year has surpassed even that. Sauber and Williams have been on the podium and will continue to be strong in the remaining races. But at the same time I believe we have the car and the team to beat them. I also remember last year we performed better in the second half of the season so I’m optimistic for the remaining races.
Can the team carry the momentum into the Monza weekend?
We need to. The car was working well in Spa and looked competitive on the straights so I’m hopeful we can carry this over to Monza where we run with even less downforce.
Nico on Monza
Nico Hulkenberg reflects on his fourth place finish in Spa and looks forward to Monza.
Nico, a fourth place is surely the perfect way to kick off the second part of the season…
It’s a great result for us. It’s my best finish in Formula One and the 12 points scored moved us up a place in the constructors’ championship. We clearly benefited from the start crash, but after that we were strong, had good pace and were able to fight a Red Bull, a Ferrari and a Lotus. So we made the most of the situation and deserved to pick up the points.
You were only two seconds away from the podium…
I know! We were always in contention for the podium and when I got ahead of Raikkonen up into second place I thought it might be possible. The result shows that we are not too far away and with eight races to go we will try our best to get a podium before the end of the year. But yesterday was just one race and our focus is to try and repeat this sort of race pace for the rest of the year.
Next up is Monza – do you enjoy the high-speed challenge? How do you think the VJM05 will perform there?
I really enjoy Monza. It is the last high-speed circuit of the year and the atmosphere is just brilliant. Obviously every team brings a new wing configuration to Monza because the track is so unique, so we have to wait and see how our aero package performs there. The target remains more points on Sunday.
Paul on Monza
Paul Di Resta talks about the challenge of the fastest circuit of the year.
Paul, things didn’t work out for you in Spa – have you put it behind you?
That’s all you can do. It’s disappointing to lose KERS before a race, especially when you see the way the race developed. I’m sure we could have come away with more points if things had gone to plan.
Looking ahead, what does Monza mean to you?
It’s one of those really special races and a venue where you can really appreciate the history of the sport. It’s also another place where the fans really get behind Formula One and always create a brilliant atmosphere.
Tell us what it feels like to drive on the fastest track of the year?
It always takes a while to get used to the car because we run with a lot less downforce compared to any other circuit. Your braking distances increase and we’re travelling about 25 km/h faster than we do all year. So adapting to that quickly and getting up to speed is always a challenge.
What’s the secret to a quick lap in Monza?
I think it’s mainly about getting the brakes right. You need to have your brake balance spot on and it’s not easy when you’re changing fuel load – especially in practice and on low fuel in qualifying. You also need to be aggressive and use the kerbs to get the laptime.