Hulkenberg looking forward to continuing Euro form
4 July 2012
Nico Hulkenberg says that he is looking forward to returning to the scene of some of his biggest successes as Force India attempts to capitalise on its biggest points haul of the season.
The Silverstone-based team will return home for this weekend's British Grand Prix knowing that it finally pulled off the sort of result in the European round two weeks ago that it had been looking for all season. With both Hulkenberg and team-mate Paul di Resta in the top seven, Vijay Mallya's equipe netted another 16 points to add to the disappointing 28 it had accrued in the previous seven rounds, moving it closer to Williams and Sauber in the constructors' standings.
With just three lowly points finishes to his name heading to Valencia, fifth place came as a welcome fillip to the German, who edged to within ten points of di Resta, but he admits that it should only be the start of Force India showing what it is really capable of.
"I think it was a result we needed in order to stay in touch with Williams and Sauber in the championship," he noted, "It's a boost for me, of course, but I think it was the sort of result we have been expecting for a while now.
"We thought we could do something similar in Canada, but things didn't work out, so it was good to get some solid points in the bag in Valencia and start showing our real potential. It's true that some cars dropped out of the race, but you still have to do the job, and that's what we did."
The points didn't come easily for Hulkenberg in Spain, however, making a top five finish even more welcome.
"I'm very happy with the result especially after such a tough race," he confirmed, "I lost KERS from lap seven, so it was hard to overtake or defend, but I just pushed as hard as I could and we managed to come away with a great result. We showed that we were strong all weekend and that we are consistently improving with each race. Now I'm just looking forward to getting back in the car for Silverstone.
"I have good memories from there, both in GP2 and F1. It is one of those classic races that bring a smile to your face when you think of some of the corners. I actually describe it as an 'old-school' circuit because it's narrow and you have to be really committed and brave through the quick parts of the lap. It's super-fast and great fun when you hook up the perfect lap."
Team boss Mallya, having seen his call for Force India to raise its game answered with a double points finish in Valencia, is determined to land a similar result in front of the staff who work behind the scenes to make sure the cars hit the track each season.
"We always try to put our best foot forward at Silverstone," he claimed, "It's where our factory is based and it's our second home race of the season. It's also one of the most atmospheric events on the calendar thanks to the passion of the British fans who always show tremendous support. For our team, it's definitely a highlight of the season.
"We arrive back at Silverstone off the back of our strongest performance of the year. In fact, the 16 points scored in Valencia are the most we have ever scored in one weekend. Those points have proved to be very valuable, bringing us within a point of Williams and just 16 adrift of Sauber, so we are catching up with our nearest competitors quite quickly. Now we need to keep up the momentum.
"Both drivers performed brilliantly in Valencia. Paul was the only driver to pull off a one-stop strategy, which was a tremendous effort, while Nico's fifth place was his best finish in F1. I believe this will be a great boost for Nico and it's just the result he deserves after some unlucky races this year.
"We will have some developments for the car this weekend and we will certainly give our all to try and come away with another strong result. I think our performance in Valencia showed just how much we have learned from the tough lessons of Canada in terms of understanding the tyres and being aggressive with the strategy. The aim this weekend is to deliver a repeat performance, pick up points and keep pushing hard to move up the championship table."