Nico Hulkenberg has called on Force India to keep its development rate high in order to build on its strong start to the season.
In each of the opening two races, Hulkenberg has managed to finish in the top six following fights with Fernando Alonso. Having only lost out to the Ferrari in the closing laps in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Hulkenberg believes the car is strong enough to maintain its current level of competitiveness but needs Force India to match the development pace of the teams around it.
“I think the performance in Malaysia was very encouraging, especially because we managed it with a two-stop strategy and nobody else near the front managed that,” Hulkenberg said. “We've had two good races and have scored a lot of points already. I think we have a strong foundation and we can now build on that. The car is good, but there are still areas that we need to focus and work on so we have to keep the development rate high.”
And while Hulkenberg believes the strong pace can carry over in to the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, the fact that it's a night race is likely to negate some of Force India's tyre advantage.
“Yes [encouraged by testing], but for the race we will drive at a very different time of day, when it gets cooler. I think it will be easier for the tyres and tyre management, which is good for us in the car. In terms of performance I expect something similar to Malaysia. I think the aim must be for us to qualify in the top ten again and score some more points.”