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Two-stop strategy allows Hulkenberg to finish fifth

Mar 30, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Nico Hulkenberg AP

Nico Hulkenberg has heaped praise upon his team after an inspired two-stop strategy allowed him to finish today’s Malaysian Grand Prix in fifth place.

The Force India driver had qualified seventh in the wet session yesterday, but he did not appear to have the pace to build upon this result during the race on Sunday. A good start saw him move up to fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, but Alonso soon demoted the German down to sixth. By going longer on his tires, Hulkenberg managed to stop just twice whilst every other driver made three changes, allowing him to move up the order and finish the race in fifth place.

“Today was a super team effort and I’m very happy with fifth place,” he explained. “We were the only team among the front-runners to do a two-stop race and we had good pace all afternoon. It shows that the team’s hard work over the winter is paying off and it feels great to be so competitive and fighting up at the front.”

The Malaysian Grand Prix is traditionally tough on tires due to the extreme heat, but Hulkenberg – who returns to Force India in 2014 after missing out on a move to Ferrari and Lotus – managed his well. He is now hoping to carry this form over to the next round in Bahrain, which is live on NBCSN next weekend.

“We showed that we could manage the tyres well, although I felt a bit more comfortable on the medium compound tyres than on the hards, but we always had the tyre management under control,” Hulkenberg explained. “So I’m feeling happy that we can take all these positives to Bahrain and leave Malaysia with a good helping of points.”

His teammate, Sergio Perez, suffered from a gearbox problem on his installation lap, meaning that he could not start the race at all on Sunday.

  1. worknman24hours - Mar 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    How can you say it enough.

    The Hulk and Force India put on a tour de force performance today.

    The team and Nico worked the car and strategy to a tee and made a great finish happen as a result.

    I would be extremely pleased if Force India was ahead of Ferrari in the constructors championship at the middle of the season.

  2. mcseforsale - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Great race. +1. I know everyone’s a bit mad about the new sound, but when they switched from v-10s, “Formula 1 is over”….when they switched from turbos and qualifying engines, “Formula 1 is over”.

    I think they just need to redo what types of microphones they’re using and work on the audio and you would get rid of the bulk of the issue. Even Bernie admitted that they sounded OK in person. I’m sure the audio kit they’re using is for VERY loud screaming high frequency dampening, so they should probably re-do their microphones and locations.

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