Force India leave the Hungaroring this evening with a double retirement to reflect on, after both their drivers crashed out of the race.
Nico Hulkenberg spun himself out of the Hungarian Grand Prix after outbraking his VJM-07 in tricky conditions, before sliding into his team-mate. While Hulkenberg crashed into the barriers at turn 14, Perez displayed incredible car control to keep his car under control during the accident. Although he appears to have suffered slight damage in the incident, it was not terminal damage and he continued to race.
But then, just after the marshals had finished clearing Hulkenberg’s stricken car, Perez spun out of the same corner when he got a wheel on the wet grass which lines the circuit. Losing control, he crossed the track and smashed into the concrete barriers in front of the Mercedes and Red Bull pit wall.
After the race, a dejected Nico Hulkenberg reflected on the crash with his team-mate, and the lost potential from the Grand Prix: “It was not the best day in the office and I’m feeling very disappointed. The track was drying out and I was quite close behind Checo when I made contact with him at the final corner. I made contact with his car, lost my front wing and went straight on into the barrier. It was my mistake and I’ve apologised to the team. It’s especially frustrating because there was a lot of potential in this race, but I guess it was one of those days when things didn’t go our way.”
Sergio Perez was similarly downbeat over his race as he too reflected on his early exit from the race, but he did temper this by saying that the positives from the Grand Prix will be focused on: “It’s a very disappointing end to our weekend, just when it looked like we could have scored some big points. I went a little wide on the exit kerb of the final corner, lost the rear and that was it – I was in the wall. It was a very unfortunate end to our race and I feel sorry for the team because they deserved some points today. Conditions were very difficult, the track was drying and improving, and it made you want to push to the limit, but there were some wet patches that could catch you out. We’ll take the positive elements of this weekend and get back in the points in the next race.”
Like Perez said, there are positives to be taken from the Grand Prix. The last race before the mid-term break is perhaps the worst time to have a double DNF as it leaves the team feeling dejected and unmotivated during what tends to be a critical time for car development. Indeed, the development on the RB9 and the changing in the construction of the Pirellis during last year’s summer break saw Sebastian Vettel win every Grand Prix afterwards. Force India must focus on the positives from the race, such as their points-potential, rather than the downside – that they lost some of their advantage to McLaren in the Constructors Championship as a result of the double DNF.
Image courtesy of Sahara Force India.