Sahara Force India delivered a strong qualifying performance in Monaco as Nico Hulkenberg qualified in fifth place ahead of Sergio Perez in eighth. With a grid penalty for Kimi Raikkonen, Perez is expected to start from seventh.
Nico Hülkenberg: “I’m very happy. We knew we had the speed to be inside the top ten today, but to qualify fifth is better than I expected. I’ve had good vibes since the start of the weekend and I’ve felt comfortable and confident since the start of practice on Thursday. We made a big step forward in Barcelona and today’s result shows that the car is working well, especially through the low-speed corners.
“My laps were clean and tidy in Q1 and Q2, and then in Q3 I was on the money and hit the sweet spot with my final lap. Of course, qualifying is only half the job and there is still a long race ahead of us with so many factors that can come into play tomorrow. In Monaco, nothing comes easy; you always have to work hard to earn your result, but I’ve put myself in a good position to come away with some important points.”
Sergio Perez: “We had very good pace today and we made some steps forward compared to Thursday, but I struggled to get heat into the tyres and that’s why I feel a better position was possible. In any case, seventh is a good place to start so we are targeting a strong result. Monaco is probably the most important qualifying session of the year so it’s good to be starting well inside the top ten, but at the same time we know how unpredictable this race can be.
“Anything can happen, such as a safety car or rain, and you need to react quickly and make the right calls. You also need a bit of luck. It will be crucial to start well, as we know that what really matters in Monaco is track position. Tomorrow is going to be a whole different story and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “The qualifying session in Monaco can make or break your weekend and so today’s results are extremely satisfying. It’s the first time we’ve had two cars qualify inside the top ten in Monaco and Nico’s fifth place is our highest starting position here, and also our best starting position of the year.
“We’ve looked competitive all the way through practice and Nico and Sergio have steadily built up their speed with each session. They kept their noses clean today, coped with the traffic, and delivered some fantastic laps when it mattered. To be lining up fifth and seventh means we are well placed for a good result tomorrow. Anything can happen in Monaco but I am confident we will be ready to make the most of any opportunity.”