The Sahara Force India Formula One Team had a solid start to the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit on Friday.

Sergio Perez ended the opening session this morning in ninth place with a time of 01:37.601s while in the second session the Mexican set a time of 01:36.284s and speaking following the day of action, Perez commented by saying:

It’s a promising start to our weekend. The track is very different compared to last year, so today was all about learning as much as we could. The changes have made this circuit much more fun to drive; I think it’s a big improvement compared to the past. We had a busy session and, despite the red flag interruption in the morning, we collected a good amount of information. Our short and long-run pace seems good and gives me confidence we will be strong this weekend, especially in qualifying tomorrow. Our focus, though, is on the race: that’s when we need to be at our best. We need to make some adjustments tonight, but I think we’re getting there.

The Sahara Force India Formula One Team head into this weekend’s race in fourth place in the Constructors championship, just one point ahead of Williams Martini Racing. Speaking following the opening day of track action in Sepang, Force India deputy team principal Robert Fernley commented by saying:

It’s been a positive day overall. We had a busy testing plan and managed to complete it – that involved understanding the three tyre compounds on what is a very different circuit compared to the one we raced on last year. The organisers have done a great job resurfacing the track, getting rid of all the big bumps and adding a big challenge in turn 15, with the adverse camber. The tyres are behaving as we expected them to and the drivers were happy with the balance of the car. Of course, there is still plenty of work needed to extract more performance, especially in qualifying trim, and it’s something we will focus on tonight.

Nico Hulkenberg ended the opening session this morning in eighth place setting a fastest time of 01:37.513s while in the afternoon session, the German set the ninth fastest time with a 01:36.390s and speaking following the day of action, Hulkenberg commented by saying:

It’s been a good day. We didn’t have any issues with the car; we ticked all the boxes on our programme and went through all the tyre compounds to collect the necessary information. It has been a straightforward day – the way you want a Friday to be. The new track surface made driving here a lot smoother because it used to be very bumpy! It’s a nice feeling, but with such strong sunshine and high temperatures you can feel the tarmac soaking up all the heat – it makes it really hot inside the car! The changes to the final corner have made it a real challenge: it’s the one corner where you can lose a good lap, right at the end, so you need to be very careful when turning in.

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