2016 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix: Race Report
Sahara Force India scored 22 points in today’s Belgian Grand Prix as Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez raced to fourth and fifth places, taking the team up to fourth place in the championship.
P4        Nico Hülkenberg       VJM09-03
Strategy: Used SuperSoft (6 laps) – New Soft (17 laps) – New Medium (21 laps)
Nico: “Today is a massive result for the team and I’m feeling very happy with fourth place. There were some unusual circumstances, but we were there to take the opportunities and pick up some very important points. At the start of the race things worked out really well for me. The first lap was great; I was up in second place following Nico [Rosberg] and pulling away from the group of cars behind me. Unfortunately, the red flag proved costly because it neutralised things and bunched everybody back up again. The restart was clean and the rest of the race was quite controlled – just managing my pace and looking after the tyres. There was a battle with Fernando [Alonso] coming out of the pit lane, but we managed to stay ahead and keep the fourth position. Maybe if things had worked out slightly differently, we could have been on the podium, but I’m satisfied with the fourth position.”
P5       Sergio Perez              VJM09-02
Strategy: Used SuperSoft (6 laps) – New Soft (3 laps) – New Medium (15 laps) – New Medium (20 laps)
Sergio:  “It’s been a great day for the team and I am very pleased to finish fifth, but it was quite a tough race from the start. I chose a wide line going into turn one, but had to go far on the outside to avoid the first corner accident and that cost me a few positions. I dropped down to ninth and that compromised my race. I managed to make some good progress early on, but every time I switched to new tyres I found myself having to put a lot of stress on them as I needed to attack Felipe [Massa] then Fernando [Alonso]. I still managed to make my way through and bring home a good result for the team. Moving to fourth in the constructors’’ championship is a fantastic achievement for us, but we can’t get carried away because there’s still a very long way to go in the season. Hopefully we can keep our momentum going and keep scoring strongly.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“We can rightly be proud of a great team result – the first time we’ve put both cars in the top five since Bahrain 2014. It was a fantastic weekend, one that highlights once more the special relationship we have with Spa-Francorchamps. Everyone in the team did a great job and we can now celebrate a very strong race. We can even be a bit disappointed, too, because without the Safety Car and red flag, Nico could well have been on the podium, but considering how the race turned out, we feel pretty content with the result. We are now fourth in the championship, having scored 89 points since Monaco, but we won’t let our guard down. There is still a long way to go and the battle in the midfield is just going to get closer. We will continue to work hard and hopefully bring home more special results between now and the end of the season.”