Force India’s Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg remain confident of a strong result at tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix despite qualifying in only 13th and 18th place for the race.
Force India have a strong record at the Spa Francorchamps circuit, having famously taken their first podium finish here in 2009. However, the Silverstone based squad looked rather average today in wet conditions at the same venue. Hulkenberg was eliminated in Q1 for the first time since 2012 after running wide at the bus stop chicane on his final flying lap while Sergio Perez could manage no further than 13th place on the grid.
But with strong long race pace in practice, the team expects to move up the field and into the points come Sunday.
“Initially it was looking good;” Hulkenberg said after the session. “I was on the pace and we chose to stay out on one set of intermediates for the whole session. Maybe that was a factor in missing out on Q2 because my tyres were quite old and worn by the end of the session.
“Q2 should still have been possible, but I made mistakes on my last two laps and out-braked myself going into the final corner, went wide and lost time.”
“For the race tomorrow I believe we can recover because we’ve got a solid car and the long run pace in the dry yesterday looked promising,’’ he concluded on a positive note.
Sergio Perez echoed Perez’s words and looked forward to the race, having crashed at Budapest last time around before the summer break.
“It was not the easiest day for us. I was struggling in the wet conditions and that was the main issue today. I wanted to be further up but we did not maximise everything,” the Mexican said.
“I’m feeling more optimistic for tomorrow and we should have strong race pace. P13 is not a bad place to start the race and I’m sure we can move forward and make up some positions.”