The Sahara Force India Formula One Team had an extremely strong start to their European Grand Prix weekend at the Baku circuit in Azerbaijan on Friday. In the opening practice session this morning, Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez ended up in fifth place just with a fastest time of 01:48.922s completing 17 laps while in the afternoon session the Mexican driver ended the day in third place behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and speaking following the on track action ‘Checo’ stated:
I knew when I walked the track yesterday that it was going to be good fun to drive – and today didn’t disappoint. It’s an amazing circuit: really challenging, no margin for error, and a real pleasure to drive. I kept things tidy today, but it’s easy to make a mistake and we saw that when cars do run wide they really pay a high penalty. It’s been a very positive day for us. The car felt good as soon as we started the first session and we were up there straight away with competitive times. That’s a good sign for the rest of the weekend and I’m feeling optimistic about our performance.
Nico Hulkenberg had an equally impressive day in the second Force India as in the opening session this morning the German completed 27 laps on his way to recording the tenth fastest time of the session a 01:49.301s while in this afternoon’s session, the Hulk completed 37 laps on his way to setting the fifth fastest time with a 01:45.920s and speaking following his time in the car he commented by saying:
Coming here to Baku has been great fun and the track is very cool. It’s got a bit of everything, with long straights, big braking zones and some exciting high-speed corners, which all the drivers enjoy. So, overall you have to say they’ve done a really good job with the circuit and it makes a nice change to come here and try something that is so different. In terms of our performance, I’m pleased with how things went today: the car feels well balanced and we made some improvements between the two sessions. We have good speed in the car and we are on the pace with some competitive laptimes. It’s a good starting point heading into the weekend.
The Silverstone based outfit head into the weekend in fifth place in the championship on 42 points following a double points finish last time out in Canada and Checo Perez’ third place finish at the Monaco Grand Prix. Speaking following Friday’s track activity, deputy team principal with Force India Robert Fernley commented by saying:
Congratulations to everybody involved in bringing this race to the calendar. The city of Baku has given us an extremely warm welcome and they’ve delivered an outstanding circuit. Both our drivers love the layout and managed to get up to speed quickly during the opening session. Our performance looks promising at this stage and we also showed good consistency during the long runs. Of course, heading into qualifying there will be some fine-tuning to ensure we find some more speed, but we’ve had a successful first day on track and have a good understanding of the car.