Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg is confident that he could have secured his maiden podium finish in Monaco, had it not been for an-ill timed pitstop.
Hulkenberg pitted early for intermediate tyres on lap 15 and got stuck behind the slower Williams of Felipe Massa. With overtaking difficult around the streets of Principality, the German was unable to get past, losing a heap of time in the process.
Speaking after a 'disappointing race', Hulkenberg said he had the pace in the car to finish in the top three.
“It was ultimately a disappointing race for me, despite getting back to scoring points,’’ he said. “I feel the timing of our first pit stop was wrong and that cost me track position and put me straight into traffic.”
“This effectively ruined my race, as I spent the rest of the afternoon stuck there. It’s very frustrating as I had the pace to be on the podium today, but this is racing and it’s just the way it often is in Monaco.”
Hulkenberg, however, pulled out an opportunistic manoeuvre over championship leader Nico Rosberg on the very first lap, earning plaudits from the team and pundits alike.
“I was able to finally get past Rosberg with a good move on the exit of the final corner. we were on worn out tyres, it started to drizzle and it was very tricky to keep the car facing in the right direction. I got a better exit out of the corner and I think I got him by just a car’s length,’’ he explained.
“All in all, I still feel it’s a huge missed opportunity for me. The car was in the sweet spot, it gave me a lot of confidence and I just had a good feeling today, but it was not to be.”
While Hulkenberg could only manage sixth, having, coincidentally, timed his first pitstop quickly to jump up a couple of positions and eventually finish third.
by Rachit Thukral