Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg
and Paul di Resta made an encouraging start to the European Grand Prix today in Valencia, both finishing proceedings at the top end of the times.
Hulkenberg led the way for the Silverstone-based outfit, and despite only taking in one of the sessions - as test driver, Jules Bianchi piloted his car in P1 - the German finished up 'best of the rest', only 0.131 seconds off pace setter, Sebastian Vettel.
“Just the one session for me today, but it went very well and we were able to pack a lot of work into the afternoon,” Hulkenberg said.
“I feel quite comfortable with the car and we managed some good runs on both tyres compounds today. I think the key factor for the rest of the weekend will be managing the tyres if the temperatures increase as expected and making sure we can deliver the same level of performance.”
Di Resta also went well and was similarly pretty pleased with the VJM05, setting the sixth best time in both P1 and P2.
“When I got in the car this morning the baseline set-up was a good starting point and I didn't really change that much for the rest of the day,” the Brit commented. “Our single lap speed looks strong, as does the long run pace, and we appear to have a good feel for the tyres already. Given the pace we have shown today we seem competitive so hopefully we can challenge for the top ten in qualifying tomorrow.”
“A solid day of practice in Valencia and we managed to get through our programme of test items, which included some aero parts and items we had evaluated in the simulator. The results were encouraging and show the correlation between our simulations and reality is working well,” summarised Force India's chief engineer, Jakob Andreasen.
“In terms of tyres we gathered a lot of data today and both the soft and medium compounds are performing well for us. The drivers were excellent, too, and their feedback has given us a good basis for tomorrow.
“There are some tough decisions to make tonight because we expect the temperatures to rise for the weekend, but we are up and running and well prepared heading into final practice.”