Competitive mid-field makes it tough 2012 season: Paul, Nico

Greater Noida: Sahara Force India did extremely well in the last season by finishing sixth in the constructors` championship but repeating the performance in the 2012 season would be extremely tough due to a very competitive mid-field, the team`s drivers conceded on Tuesday.

Force India have made a reasonably good start with Paul di Resta among points in the first two races and Nico Hulkenberg earning two points at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Force India, in fact, were the only team whose both the cars finished among points in Malaysia.

Teams such as Sauber and Toro Rosso, that finished behind Force India in 2011, have also done well in the first two races of the new season, sending out a warning that it will take some effort to beat them. Sauber`s Sergio Perez delivered a shock second-place finish, the best-ever for the side, in the Malaysian Grand Prix last Sunday.

"It`s not easy. It`s tough but we are hopeful that we will be able to develop the car that would be good enough. The focus is to get points in every race," Paul di Resta said during an interaction with media at the Buddh International circuit.

Nico Hulkenberg said it is difficult to predict what the outcome would be at the end of the season but he too felt that mid-field is quite close this time. "It`s early days. We have had just two races. We will have plenty of opportunity to maximise our performance. The mid-field is close," Hulkenberg said.

Both di Resta and Hulkenberg also drove the gathered journalists and photo-journalists in a Mercedes car for a lap of the BIC.

Asked if the team can deliver a podium finish, Paul said, "It`s difficult to say. But you have to be ready. It`s a massive task. You want it to happen and you will have to believe it will happen to us." Hulkenberg also said it is difficult to compare the new car and last year`s car due to "change in regulations".

"It still has a lot of potential to go faster," the German added.

Hulkenberg said he has recovered from the Melbourne Grand Prix disappointment where his races ended in the first lap itself when he was hit from the back. He said he was raring to go in the remaining season. Both the drivers said they also share a healthy rivalry.