A bittersweet beginning for Force India

A bittersweet beginning for Force India

18 March 2012 – Force India experienced a somewhat bizarre start to the 2012 Formula 1 season, with Nico Hülkenberg becoming the first retirement of the year as Paul di Resta recovered from an off-colour weekend to take home a last-dash final point.

Having joined the Silverstone-based team’s race line-up by replacing Adrian Sutil, German Hülkenberg made left-rear contact with Mark Webber on the run to Turn 1, quashing his chances of points after a solid top ten qualifying result.

“I don’t seem to have much luck at Albert Park,” he said. “My first race here in 2010 was less than a lap and today was a repeat of that. I’m still not really sure what happened, but I got hit when I turned into the first corner. It’s such a shame because I had made a great start, moved up a couple of positions and then I just felt somebody tap me from behind. There was a puncture and the suspension was damaged, so my race was over and I had to park up.”

A first-corner squeeze in Melbourne, which took Hülkenberg out of the race

In the midfield for most of the race, di Resta took advantage of penultimate lap contact between Sergio Pérez and Nico Rosberg, plus a heavy crash for Pastor Maldonado, to narrowly seal tenth place and repeat his finish of last year.

“It’s always nice to start the season with a point, but it was not looking too promising until the last few laps when my engineer told me that I was catching the cars ahead of me,” the Scot admitted.

“Fortunately I had saved quite a bit of KERS for the last corner, which helped me get a good run on Vergne and beat him to the line. So it was a pretty exciting final lap. It’s a good way to start the season, but it’s clear we have a lot of work to do because we were struggling for pace at the start of each stint, which hurt my overall race pace.”

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