March 30th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Nico Hulkenberg recorded his second points finish in as many races this season, bringing his Force India home in fifth place in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The ten points he receives for this result put him sixth in the championship on 18 points after two races.
Hulkenberg made a two-stop strategy work while the rest of the points finishers made three stops. It's significant that the Force India is able to look after its tyres well enough to make one pitstop less than the competition. After the race, Hulkenberg was full of praise for his Force India team. He said, “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.”
Hulkenberg has long been considered one of the most talented drivers in Formula One. He appears to have a reasonably competitive car this season, which he will be hoping to use to good effect in targeting the podium.
On the other side of the Force India garage, the race was over before it began. Sergio Perez suffered technical problems that prevented him from even starting the race, which was a big blow to Perez and the team, particularly as Hulkenberg showed just how competitive the car is.
Perez expressed his disappointment after the race, saying, "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.
Despite his disastrous race day in Malaysia, Perez chose to look forward at the opportunities to come in the next race in Bahrain. He said, "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.”