Nico Hulkenberg says he hopes the limited mileage enjoyed by the teams and drivers on the first day of the Russian Grand Prix could work in Force India's favour heading into qualifying.

An oil spillage just before the start of FP1 caused a delay and then some on-track havoc around the soiled turn seven, before rain then arrived to wash-out second free practice around the Sochi Autodrom.

Though Hulkenberg went on to top FP1, he says there was little to be learned over the course of the disrupted day. Despite this, he feels the more unpredictable nature could well pave the way for Force India to spring a surprise in qualifying.

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"It has not been the most adventurous day in the car. It's always frustrating when you have a big work plan and you can't go out, but it's the same set of conditions for everyone. Like in Suzuka two weeks ago, we finish Friday without having done much running, but that generally makes it more interesting and unpredictable for the rest of the weekend.

"The next two days are likely to be dry, so tomorrow morning's final practice will be crucial: we will need to learn and adapt quickly ahead of qualifying. We will need to squeeze a long run in during FP3 and do the necessary car and tyre set-up exploration.

"It will be a busy session, but at the same time it could generate an opportunity for us. It's going to be a big challenge for everyone."