Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg finished in a strong fifth place in the Malaysian Grand Prix to bring the team’s points tally to 19 points after two races. Sergio Perez failed to start the race after suffering a series of issues, which caused the car to get stuck in gear on the way to the grid.
P5 Nico Hulkenberg VJM07-04
Tyre strategy: New Medium (16 laps) – New Medium (18 laps) – Used Hard (22 laps)
Nico: “Today was a super team effort and I’m very happy with fifth place. We were the only team among the frontrunners to do a two-stop race and we had good pace all afternoon. It shows that the team’s hard work over the winter is paying off and it feels great to be so competitive and fighting up at the front. We showed that we could manage the tyres well, although I felt a bit more comfortable on the medium compound tyres than on the hards, but we always had the tyre management under control. So I’m feeling happy that we can take all these positives to Bahrain and leave Malaysia with a good helping of points.”
DNS Sergio Perez VJM07-02
Sergio: “I’m disappointed not to have a chance to race today. We are still investigating the cause of the problem but the car kept going into neutral when I was downshifting on the way to the grid. I made it back to the garage but we could not find a solution. I need to focus on the positives because we learned a lot from the weekend so I hope we can come back stronger in Bahrain. It’s been a frustrating weekend for me but at least we are racing again in seven days and can look forward to putting the disappointment behind us.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director
“Nico’s fifth place today is a fantastic result for the team. He didn’t put a wheel out of place and managed the race perfectly to complete a two-stop strategy. In the end we didn’t have the performance left in the hard tyres to hold off Alonso, but it’s encouraging to see us finish 36 seconds ahead of the sixth place McLaren. We knew we would cope well in the hot conditions so it’s very satisfying to pick up ten more points; but it was a day of mixed fortunes with Checo unable to start the race. It’s important we solve the problem before Bahrain because we had the speed to score good points with both cars today. On the whole I’m feeling very positive about our performance this weekend and I’m confident we can deliver a similar showing in Bahrain.”