The Sahara Force India Formula One Team endured a mixed Saturday in Bahrain ahead of Sunday’s race at the Sakhir circuit.
Nico Hulkenberg did a great job to qualify inside the top ten in eighth place just behind the Williams of Felipe Massa and just ahead of the Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean after setting a time of 1m 31.620s and speaking following the session, Hulkenberg commented by saying:
It’s a nice result to make Q3 because we’ve had to work hard this weekend to get the performance we needed from the car. The changes we made last night took us in a good direction and made the difference today. During qualifying the car just got better and better, and I think the track improvement came towards us as well. All of my laps were clean and tidy, and I’m happy with our performance. Hopefully tomorrow night will be a similar story because I think we can come away with some good points. It’s true that the cars directly behind me have a free choice of tyres, but I’m happy with where I’m starting because it’s always better to be further up the grid.
Sergio Perez had an extremely frustrating day at the office and will start the race from 18th place behind the Mercedes powered Manor Racing of Pascal Wehrlein. Perez set a time of 1m 32.911s and speaking following the session the Mexican commented by saying:
It was an unlucky session and we just miscalculated things. I think the mistake was doing an extra timed lap during my first run in Q1 because it left me short of time for my second run. It looks like we just got caught out and it’s going to hurt my race tomorrow. It’s a shame because the car has shown good pace today and we had the potential to have both cars inside the top ten. I will do my best tomorrow to fight back and recover some points.
Sahara Force India have a great record here in recent years and speaking following qualifying deputy team principal Robert Fernley commented by saying:
Qualifying was a mixed bag and it has left us wondering what might have been. As Nico demonstrated, we found some pace overnight and he delivered an excellent lap at the end of Q2 to reach Q3. With Sergio our approach in Q1 didn’t work out and it’s left us with an uphill struggle in tomorrow’s race. We knew Sergio had to put in another lap, but a miscalculation meant we cut things too fine and left us in the drop zone and out of time. It was a mistake on our side and we hold our hand up to Sergio. Looking at the positives, we’ve seen today that the car is performing well and Bahrain offers many opportunities to overtake, so there’s every reason to believe we can bring home a good result with both drivers tomorrow evening.