Force India had a disappointing weekend by their points-scoring standards. Nico Hulkenberg scored a point with 10th, but Valtteri Bottas finished in 9th, the Finn’s 2-points slightly extending the lead that Williams hold over Force India to 20 points in the constructor standings.
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) July 24, 2016
Sergio Perez admits that the pit-stop mishap was his fault. He came into the pits on lap 27 on his soft tyres after mirroring Kimi Raikkonen’s race strategy in an attempt to follow the Ferrari up the order. Panic ensued as Perez approached the box, his pit-crew rapidly scrapping to remove medium compounds from their heat blankets.
The mishap cost the Mexican five-seconds extra in the pits, but the tyre call was arguably more damning – a rare mistake by the Force India strategists. Perez was clearly looking to go to the end of the race on the mediums as it’s the only validation of the tyre, which is well over a second-a-lap slower than the super-softs. Perez quickly realized the mistake, pitting for a second set of softs and ditching the sluggish medium tyres after just 13 laps.
Force India remain upbeat about their prospects in Hockenheim next weekend though, with team principal and owner Vijay Mallya more than aware that the German circuit will be more suited to the VJM09’s strengths. He said,
“The last race in Hungary was a bit disappointing, as we felt we could have scored a few more points than the one we came away with. We had some issues in the pit lane, but it is something we have investigated and resolved to prevent it from happening again.
All in all, however, we can be satisfied with our pace on a track that has never been kind to us. The tenth place we scored with Nico was only the second time we finished in the points at the Hungaroring, so we should remain upbeat and optimistic for the next few races.
Hockenheim is a track on which I expect us to perform well. It’s a medium-speed circuit with good overtaking opportunities and the hot weather could play a big role with the tyres. It’s the final race before the summer break, so we are determined to have a good result to help us in the fight for fourth place in the championship. We had some strong performances recently and we want to carry this momentum into the break.
– Vijay Mallya
The bad news for Force India is that Hockenheim will suit their big rivals Williams too. Both cars have high-speed/lower downforce characteristics powered by Mercedes engines, so the scramble for 4th will be hotly contested and definitely an aspect of the race to look out for.