Contrasting Attitudes At Force India

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg leave Austria with different outlooks after their respective result in this afternoon’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez had an uphill battle to get to the front following a five-place grid penalty for his part in a crash with Felipe Massa at the Canadian Grand Prix, which meant he started the race from sixteenth.

“Today we got a very positive result for the team, especially considering where we started the afternoon,” Perez said after the race. “When you start in 16th it is always going to be difficult to make up ground, but I had a very strong start and made up a good few positions.

“It was especially important to pass Jenson [Button] because he was on a similar strategy to mine: it was a key moment for my race. The strategy worked; we showed once more that we can manage the tyres well, and we had a very strong race pace, as we have had all year.”

Perez also led the race for several laps after the Mercedes and Williams drivers made their first pit stops, but he was eventually passed by Rosberg, Bottas and Hamilton before making his pit stop.

It was nice to be in the lead for a while, although we obviously knew that the cars behind us were on a different strategy. The only regret is that without the grid penalty I would have been further up the grid, which would have made a big difference because we had the pace to fight for a podium today.

“It’s nice to be back in the points after two disappointing races: the car is improving and we are in good shape,” Perez concluded.

In contrast to his team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg was less upbeat about his race result as he crossed the line ninth, having been overtaken by Daniel Ricciardo in a ballsy manoeuvre on the last lap.

“It was quite a tough afternoon and more difficult than I was expecting,” Hulkenberg admitted as he reflected on the Grand Prix. “Inside the car I was struggling with the balance quite a lot, which hurt our pace and also had an impact on the tyre wear. 

“So I think it was just a general lack of pace which stopped me from being able to get a better result. Checo [Perez] obviously had better race pace, even though he was on a different strategy, so we need to understand why that was the case.

“It’s good to continue picking up points and I had some good battles this afternoon, especially with Ricciardo on the final lap. I was fighting hard to keep him behind but he had a tyre advantage and I could not hold him off.”

Team owner Vijay Mallya had a more upbeat attitude and said that it was encouraging to see both cars finish the race in the points, and that the team have maintained their fourth place in the Championship. He praised Perez’s “mature” drive today and pointed out how consistent Hulkenberg has been, scoring points in all races this season so far.

The next Grand Prix is the British Grand Prix in Silverstone where the team are based.

Image courtesy of Sahara Force India.

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