September 24th, 2012 (F1plus / Gustavo A Roche).- Well, we are arriving at the final stretch of the season, and it seems that the Silverstone based team of Force India, is finally putting all the pieces together, and to work properly.
They have the means (financial security), a committed and intelligent principal in Vijay Mallya, a hard working crew and of course, a couple of talented young drivers: Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta, which when combined in the right setting, deliver the goods.
Lately, the ultimate objective, a podium finish, the one that makes you stand out among others, is becoming closer and closer. Yesterday we saw Scotsman Paul di Resta showing his driving skills. He finished 4th, but the remarkable thing about it is that it requires a bit of an effort to achieve that in a circuit such as the Marina Bay, in such a long race.
The confidence on the fact that the Force India machine he is driving is a competitive one is always a good feeling, and something that makes the life of a race driver, better. There's always going to be an opportunity to show off your skills. If you have a lousy car, an you end up higher than expected is good, but first, it gets harder as you move up the competitive ladder and second, its not same to fight for bigger points prizes and the chance of standing on the podium.
“Fourth place is a great team result and my best day in Formula One so far." Di Resta said.
"In the final stint we certainly showed that we had great pace, and I was very close to Alonso in the closing stages, but was just missing the pace to really challenge him for the podium". Di Resta added in a sentence that hints they are close to have it 9the pace)
You can feel the sense of teamwork and connection internally running at Force India when Di Resta comments something like this: "a massive ‘thank you’ to the boys in the garage who put in a huge effort, as always.”
On the other hand, Nico Hulkenberg had a bizarre weekend. Along with his teammate, the German had good practice sessions. In none of the three, he finished lower than 7th and he got the 4th best time on Saturday morning. But all this almost went away because he qualified 11th, and higher was expected.
Still, as a second tier grid qualifier, Hulkenberg was able to choose the tyre strategy, but it did not work out very well for the team. Many things combined to mess with the German’s race.
“It was a pretty rough race for me. The strategy we chose by starting on the soft tyres could have paid off, but I was stuck behind Kimi and Michael early on and couldn’t really show the true pace of the car." He said.
"The timing of the safety cars was not ideal and the second one really hurt my race. So overall things have not really fallen into place for me this weekend, but there are a lot of positives to take with the pace of the car and the result for Paul.” Added Hulkenberg, who had a 4th place finish recently at Spa.
The overall consent within the team is that the race pace has been improving and that the podium is an achievable objective.
“It’s a credit to the team that we were just a few seconds away from the podium and able to match the race pace of Ferrari." Said the Team Principal, Vijay Mallya.
"The 12 points give us a boost in the championship, lifting us 21 clear of Williams and closing the gap on Sauber ahead.” Added later.