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News - European GP
Drivers upbeat after good first day in Valencia
23 Jun 2012
Friday represented a good start to the European GP weekend for Sahara Force India, with both drivers getting a lot of work done and finishing the day close to the top of the time sheets.
After handing his car to Jules Bianchi for FP1 Nico Hülkenberg had only the afternoon session in which to get his hand in. Despite that lack of mileage he finished the session in an encouraging second place, while Paul Di Resta was sixth in both FP1 and FP2.
In Canada strong Friday pace was converted into eighth on the grid for Paul, so the team of hopeful of a repeat.
“It was quite a short and compact afternoon for me running in FP2,” said Nico. “All I can say from today is that the car felt in good shape. There are still little bits to work on, but overall the car performed really well today.”
Nico said he was happy with both his long runs and one lap pace, which bodes well for the rest of the weekend.
“Both were good. Our long runs were good. The Lotus one looked quite strong too, but I think we’re in the mix there. We’ll have to wait and see. I didn’t do a long run on the medium, just on the soft. I did about 13 laps, and still did a good lap time on lap 13.”
So is he aiming for the points? That has to be the target.
“I hope so. Tomorrow will tell. Potentially the temperatures are looking different again, so then the task for us is to make sure that we’ve got everything sorted out and we perform under hotter conditions as well, as we know it’s very sensitive. But it looks good. I think we might be there, so definitely Q3 and some points is the aim on Sunday.”
Paul meanwhile could have been even further up the order had he got a clean lap in, but he didn’t quite manage it.
“We purpled in the middle sector in both laps and both times I found myself coming across Jenson in the last sector,” said Paul. “I never improved in the last sector. Had we put it all together it was looking fairly positive. It could all change tomorrow, but given where we’ve been all day, I think we can be fairly happy.
“I think since we’ve hit the track we’ve been competitive and right at the top. Straight from our first run this morning to the last runs we’ve been where we’ve had to be.”
Paul says that Valencia is a more challenging track to get right than might first appear: “I think it’s quite a technical place. If you just miss one braking zone it often compromises a lot of lap time, because it just lead into big straights and long sections of the track. It’s very much about flow here, and rhythm.”
Meanwhile the team has done a lot of homework after the frustrating race in Canada, where the promise of Paul’s early fifth place was not fulfilled.
“We understood quite fast what our issues were. Whether we could have achieved what we wanted to achieve is another thing. That’s a hard thing to say. But I think we have a clear direction about what went wrong in Canada, and I think we can be fairly confident that should we go back there, it will be a different story.”