OUD-BEIJERLAND, The Netherlands, March 21, 2016 –KONI continued its technical partnership with Sahara Force India for the 2016 season and the first race is a fact. Sahara Force India scored six points in Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg coming home in seventh place ahead of Sergio Perez in P13.
“To get some points in the bag at the first race is a positive way to start the year. It was not an easy day and it’s difficult to know what would have happened without the race being stopped and restarted. I think the red flag made things a lot more difficult for our planned one-stop strategy because it gave everybody around us the chance to reset and change their tyres. So that was a shame and it meant I was out of position and got stuck behind the Haas for most of the race. It was not easy to get close to Romain [Grosjean] and I had a lot of cars behind me, which meant I was always under pressure and having to defend as well as chase. So, given all the circumstances, seventh place feels quite satisfying.”
Sergio Perez reached 13th position. Sergio:
“It's a real shame to finish outside of the points. My problems began at the start: I lost a couple of places off the line and that put me in a very difficult position. I spent my first stint behind Alonso, who was on a faster compound, and being stuck in the dirty air destroyed my tyres. Unfortunately there was a very similar situation after the restart because I was passed by Jenson (Button), who was on supersoft tyres, and that cost me a lot of time. Sadly the Safety Car and the red flag ruined our strategy, which was to stop only once. When the race restarted we had our work cut out: I had pressure from behind and the Renaults and Williams ahead were very difficult to catch - I got close but couldn't really attack. In the end I had an issue with overheating brakes, probably because I spent most of the race in traffic, but we still managed to finish the race. It's not an ideal start of the season for me, especially after the good work we had done in qualifying yesterday, but we have to keep looking ahead and continue working hard.”
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