HUNGARORING, 26th July 2014 (F1Plus / Katie Grimmet) - Nico Hulkenberg has enjoyed a consistent season since his return to Force India earlier this year and the German is yet to finish outside the points in any race in 2014.
However, raw pace has been lacking in the VJM07 all year, something Hulkenberg referenced when discussing his ninth place grid slot.
When asked whether he was happy with his qualifying result, the twenty-six-year-old admitted his surprise following a strong showing within the top.
“It was another solid qualifying”, he said. “It was good to make Q3, I wasn’t expecting it, especially after this morning when it seemed so far away."
As is often the way with the midfield, Hulkenberg did further admit that the misfortunes of others benefitted Force India as they continue to fight for a top five placing in the constructors’ championship.
The Silverstone-based team holds just a two point lead over main rivals, McLaren.
“Obviously, some people failed to qualify”, he said referencing Lewis Hamilton’s difficult Saturday afternoon running.
“Some people made some mistakes and we were able to profit from it but otherwise, it was a solid performance and I got the most out of the car”.
Speaking to gathered media following qualifying, Hulkenberg discussed with suggestions that the red flag at the end of Q3 curtailed the team’s performance, preventing them from fighting for a top five grid slot.
“It’s hard to say. It would have been more predictable, less consistent, maybe maximum one spot against Vergne which was very close but yeah, everything beyond that was too far away."
Instead, the German felt that the team’s race pace would be their greatest weapon heading into Sunday’s race. Force India has shown great consistency this year having retired from just one Grand Prix all season.
“We should be better in the long run pace tomorrow but we are not talking about a podium here”, he confessed.
“Our next positions are above McLaren and Toro Rosso now so we need to make sure we can beat them”, he continued acknowledging the tight battle for championship honours.
Hulkenberg’s team mate, Mexican racer Sergio Perez qualified thirteenth in the second Force India.