Nico Hülkenberg has described the new B-spec Force India VJM08 as a significant ‘step forward’ after enjoying a productive Friday practice at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
The Silverstone-based team launched its radically upgraded car, which features a host of new aerodynamic components – the most noticeable being a snout-like nose assemble – and it was quick out of the box, with the German finishing eighth-fastest in Friday’s second practice session, 1.2 seconds slower than the fastest time posted by Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
“I think it was a positive day for us to finally run it and find some really good things with it,” he said after FP2, where he posted 34 untroubled laps in the session.
“Straight away we have made a step forward with our performance, especially at this circuit which is high-speed dominated, which used to be our Achilles Heel.
“Now the car feels stronger, definitely. Of course we are still discovering, exploiting the car, the set-up, the options… but so far so good.”
A strong run of results at recent Grands Prix in its outgoing car – a modified version of its 2014 chassis – has seen the team vault to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship standings, and Hülkenberg is hopeful that he can continue the team’s performance.
He admitted, however, that the midfield competition looks to be tight this weekend, with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso both showing strong pace, while the Williams team was yet to show its true pace.
“On Sunday we want to challenge for points. By the looks of it, we had quite a smooth Friday, but it is still tough. You have Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull buried in the front more or less, so that is the first six already. Behind them Toro Rosso looked strong, especially on the long run,” he added.
“Williams today were struggling but it is often like that and then they become much stronger. I expect a competitive and tough weekend, the points are not easy and won’t come for free, so we will have to work for them.”
Image via Sahara Force India F1 Team
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