Hülkenberg optimistic despite gearbox penalty
6 October 2012 – Nico Hülkenberg will start 15th at Suzuka, taking a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Despite a crash in final practice on Saturday morning, which left Force India with much repair work, the German still qualified in the top ten.
“The build-up to qualifying was quite intense because the guys were working hard to repair my car after the accident this morning,” he explained. “It was not a big impact, but the angle was unfortunate and there was quite a lot to fix – so all credit to the boys who got me out with enough time to set a time in Q1.
“The car felt good straight away and we made it through to Q3, which was always the target. We then took a strategic decision to save tyres, so I didn’t set a time. That opens up the strategy for tomorrow, especially because we knew I would get a five-place grid penalty for changing the gearbox. There’s still a chance to get points tomorrow if we can make our strategy work.”
Team-mate Paul di Resta was eliminated in Q2 and starts 11th on Sunday.