As Sebastian Vettel emerged winner at the 2nd Indian Grand Prix held on Sunday at the Buddh International Circuit, Force India gained 4 points to their total with Nico Hulkenberg coming in 8th place at finish. Vettel reached the No.1 spot from pole position, facing no challenge along the way from start to finish making this his fourth win and a lead on drivers’ championships to 13 points over Fernando Alonso.
Alonso too raced past two McLaren cars to gain control over Mark Webber to come in second position. For Vettel this is his second consecutive win in the Indian GP and is in the lead with 240 points, 13 more than Alonso. Where the home team Force India is concerned, this year’s performance was better thus seeing Hulkenberg gaining four points for his team. This has caused Force India to reduce the gap with Sauber to 23 points in Constructors’ Championships.
It would have been a better situation if both the Sahara Force India cars had earned points on their home ground but the team is happy with Hulkenberg’s 8th place win despite poor qualifying. Paul di Resta finished the race in 12th position after starting 16th on the grid.
India auto new release: 2012 Indian Grand Prix: Race Report
Sahara Force India secured four important points on home ground today as Nico Hülkenberg finished the Indian Grand Prix in a strong eighth place. Teammate Paul Di Resta made up four places in the race to finish in P12, ensuring a two-car finish in the team’s home race.
P8 Nico Hülkenberg (VJM05/03)
Tyre strategy: New soft, new hard
Nico: “I’m very happy with the result today and I think eighth was about the maximum that was possible. It was a great team performance and I’m feeling satisfied with what we achieved today. At the start I didn’t get the best getaway, but I had a good first lap and was able to overtake Rosberg on the back straight and Maldonado going into turn four. The middle part of the race was quite lonely for me because I was running in clean air, but towards the end Grosjean was very close behind me and pushing me hard. But I didn’t crack under the pressure, I kept him behind and we made the one-stop strategy work. You could really feel the support for the team today in the grandstands and it’s great that we could score points for them.”
P12 Paul Di Resta (VJM05/02)
Tyre strategy: New soft, new hard
Paul: “It was quite a tough afternoon, but I think that we achieved all we could from the race because I couldn’t get any more out of the car today. I drove as hard as I could and was pushing all the way. We were in the hunt battling with Rosberg and Senna, but I didn’t really get close enough to challenge them. To be honest I’ve struggled to find the ideal balance with the car all weekend. We identified a few issues in the data last night, but they carried over into the race. I’m pretty sure the team can get on top of them and be more competitive when we get to Abu Dhabi next week.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director
“I’m delighted to see Sahara Force India score points at our home race – for the second year in a row. After qualifying we knew we had a big task ahead of us, but Nico rose to the challenge and raced well to finish in eighth place. It’s a very satisfying result and it means we have scored points in the last six races – that’s every race since the summer break. These are important points for our fight in the constructors’ championship and we will continue to push very hard in the remaining three races. Paul also battled hard in the race, moving up four places, but it was difficult for him to challenge for points in the end. Overall it’s been another great Indian Grand Prix. The circuit is a magnificent venue for motor racing and the Buddh International Circuit has once again delivered a fantastic event which we have all enjoyed immensely.”
Nico Hülkenberg’s eighth place in India extended Sahara Force India’s run of points finishes to six, and significantly it was a result achieved on pure merit.
Although qualifying had been disappointing for the team, Nico did a great job to pass four strong rivals – including two 2012 race winners – as he moved up the order. Given that the cars ahead were two Red Bulls, two Ferraris, two McLarens and the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen, it was a strong performance.
“It was as good as it could be really,” said Nico after the race. “On Saturday P12 was the maximum, today it was P8, so I should be happy with that. There was no more on the table – that was really as much as we could have achieved.”
This year Nico has had a habit of moving up well on the first lap, something he achieved notably at Spa and Suzuka, where he avoided accidents ahead. In India there were no spinning cars, but he did a great job to pass Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Nico Rosberg to move up to ninth, just behind Sergio Perez.
That superb first lap gave him track position and with fresher tyres he kept the pressure on Perez in the early laps. Then on lap 13 he moved past the Mexican driver to claim eighth.
“Obviously it was a DRS pass, and with DRS there’s only so much you have to work for it – the DRS does most of the job. I just had to prepare it and get a good exit from Turn 3, and the DRS obviously helped me to get past.”
After Perez pitted Nico found himself running on his own, well clear of Rosberg but too far behind Kimi Raikkonen ahead to be able to challenge. He then made his single pit stop of the race, for the harder tyre, on lap 28.
“The team did a good job. It was a good pit stop, although it was a bit difficult pulling into the garage because there was a cameraman in the way, and it turned out to be quite difficult for my guys. But they still managed to do a good pit stop, so credit to them.”
After the initial round of pit stops Nico ran ninth for a while, because Grosjean had started on the harder tyre and went for a very late stop. When the Lotus driver came in on lap 36 Nico duly moved back into eighth place.
With his younger and softer tyres Grosjean closed in on Nico towards the end of the race, but the German stayed safely in front to claim four valuable points.
“It was a difficult end to the race, with Grosjean pushing on again. The first three-quarters of the race was a bit quiet, I was on my own. Overall a strong car performance, a strong team performance, and we should be happy with what we achieved.”