Force India's Nico Hulkenberg took a fighting sixth place in the Korean Grand Prix to leapfrog team-mate Paul di Resta in the F1 2012 Driver's Championship.
The young German continues to burnish his reputation in the F1 paddock, and as rumours circulate about his whereabouts next year, performances like this will put him in ever increasing demand.
Hulkenberg spent much of the race battling Romain Grosjean of Lotus, as they moved through the field in a seemingly perpetual duel. The Frenchman got the better of him mid-way through the race, however as they rose through the order Hulkenberg fought back with a fine piece of opportunistic driving as they negotiated their way past an ailing Lewis Hamilton.
The 24-year-old held on until the finish, and was understandably ecstatic post-race.
“That race was a lot of fun and it's great to get such a mega result," he said. "It wasn't easy though, and for most of the race I had Romain pushing me and some great battles. Even the first pit-stop was very close with Romain, but the team did a great stop because it was important to stay ahead at that stage.
“I think the best moment of the race was the fight with Lewis [Hamilton] and Romain in the final stint when I got ahead of both of them in turn four. They both went to the inside so I just saw the opportunity to use the outside line and made the move work. That certainly put a big smile on my face. So a very positive day, an amazing job by the whole team and lots of positives to take as we head to India for our home race.”
Di Resta, meanwhile, had a race to forget as he was comprehensively beaten by Hulkenberg and he admitted the race just hadn't gone to plan.
“A tough race in many ways and it's fair to say that the result in qualifying hampered us quite badly," he said. "We expected the supersoft to be a better race tyre and so we saved it for the second stint. As it happened, the soft tyres did not last long enough at the start of the race and when I switched to the supersofts they started graining straight away.
“We were not on the ideal strategy and that impacted the whole race, and after that I was always struggling with traffic and couldn't make any progress. On the positive side the car seemed competitive here with the points for Nico, but it's just a bit frustrating that we couldn't maximise it”
by Philip Barclay