Di Resta and Hulkenberg deliver Sahara Force India's best performance this season
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With its drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul Di Resta securing fifth and seventh positions respectively, Sahara Force India marked its best performance of the season in a thrilling European Formula One Grand Prix on June 24 2012. The team overstepped the previous best of the 2012 season when Di Resta and Hulkenberg finished seventh and eighth at the Monaco Grand Prix. Improving on his earlier eighth place, Hulkenberg collected 10 points while Di Resta collected 6 points after finishing sixth in the Bahrain leg. With 44 points, Sahara Force India now stands at the eighth position on the constructor's table.
After his victory, Hulkenberg expressed his joy saying, “A great result for everyone in the team and for me. Fifth place is a great achievement after a long and difficult race. The two-stop strategy worked well, but the last stint was very long and it was hard to hold off the cars behind me on fresher tyres in the last few laps.”
The German driver started the race from eighth position on the grid and completed it three places behind the winner, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, after gaining three places. Alonso finished the race in one hour 44 minutes and 16.649 seconds, which was just 19.993 seconds ahead of Hulkenberg. Alonso was closely followed by Kimi Raikkonen of Team Lotus at second place and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes at third place.
Di Resta, The other winner, too gained three places after starting from tenth on the grid and finished 22.866 seconds behind his team mate at the Valencia street circuit, which is famous for its difficult track where overtaking is pretty tough. He said, “We went very aggressive by only stopping once and in fact we were the only car to pull off this strategy. Of course, when you’re stopping once you don’t want a safety car period and it cost me some track position.” He further added, “But with the way the race unfolded we can’t be too disappointed to finish seventh and it’s great to have another two-car points finish.”
The race turned really thrilling when one of the best drivers, Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, crashed with Pastor Maldonado of Williams in the final lap to quit the race. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who was the defending double world champion, retired after being in lead during majority of race starting from the pole position.
In the season so far, Di Resta has 27 points and Hulkenberg has accumulated 17 points. The country's HRT driver, Narain Karthikeyan finished 18th. The news brought cheers to Sahara Force India’s Team Principal and Managing Director, Vijay Mallya, who said he would set up a team for the home race in Silverstone.
The elated Mallya commented that the race was thoroughly enjoyable and it delighted him to see, as both the drivers came home in fifth and seventh places, their strongest result of the season and Nico's best finish in the F1 racing. He remarked that it was a rollercoaster with many twists and turns, but felt that they came away with the points they deserved given their performance level this weekend. He added that both the drivers pushed hard, kept out of trouble and made different strategies work. Mallya said, “Paul recovered the ground he lost under the safety car and Nico had to drive most of the race without KERS, so it was an excellent performance by him.”
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