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.”
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.”