We had best start but big fight ahead: Vijay Mallya

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 21:02

Budapest: Sahara Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya is satisfied with the performance of his team at the first half of the season but said his drivers need to be more consistent to stay ahead of their competitors in the championship.

"I`ve said many times already that this is the best start we have ever had to a season in terms of points scored. So from that perspective I`m satisfied and proud of what we have achieved in the first ten races," Mallya said.

"Our drivers are doing an excellent job and we are working well as a team so there are lots of reasons to be positive. But at the same time I`m all too aware that we have a big fight on our hands to reclaim our sixth position in the championship," he added.

Asked how his team would approach the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mallya said: "People suggest that Hungary might play more to our strengths, but regardless of whether it suits us we just need to be ahead of the teams that we are fighting with in the championship and score points.

"If you take our immediate competitors, Sauber have had three races without points so far, Williams have had four, and we`ve had three. That`s what we need to address: we need to be scoring at every race," he said.

At Hockenheim last Sunday, Nico Hulkenberg finished ninth while Paul di Resta finished 11th as Sahara Force India returned with just two points from the German Grand Prix.

But Mallya said he doesnt want to judge his drivers on the basis of one race.

"I think it`s hard to judge from one race because this year we`ve seen most teams experiencing big variances in terms of performance based on circuit characteristics and their understanding of the tyres," he said.

"In Germany it seemed that others were able to manage their tyres better than us because with Nico we were always debating whether to stop two or three times. With Paul, we couldn`t manage consistent performance during each stint so it`s something we will try and understand before we get to Hungary," he said.

German driver Nico said although he is happy with the improvement in performance in the first half he believes he could have done better.

"To be honest, I would have hoped for a few more points than I actually have. There were some races where I had some bad luck, which cost me points, especially in Australia where I had a collision on lap one and in Bahrain with a clutch issue at the start," he said.

"But on the other hand, I am happy with the improvement in performance from both the car and myself. We are regular top ten runners and I hope that we will move a little further up the grid in the second half of the season," he added.

Asked about Hungarian GP, Nico said: "I have some good memories, especially looking back to 2010 when I finished 6th, which at that time was the best result of my F1 career.

"Also, in 2009 I won the GP2 race at the Hungaroring. So I`m looking forward to going back there, especially because I like the city of Budapest: it`s just a nice place to visit.”

"I think we should be able to fight for points because we recently looked quite strong on circuits that don`t have so many fast corners, such as Valencia. Although it`s quite a slow circuit, it`s very difficult to get a good lap time because you need to hook up all the corners perfectly, so it`s quite challenging," he added.

Di Resta too was happy with the first half and was now eyeing the race at the Hungaroring.

"As a team we have to be pleased with the start we`ve had to the year. We`ve had some strong races and scored more points compared to the same time last year. With ten races still to go there are a lot of points on offer and a long way to go in the championship," he said.

"I had a great race there last year when I finished seventh just before the summer break. It`s a short track, but it`s very demanding on you physically and mentally.”

"I suppose it`s like a street track in terms of the layout and all the corners seem to flow into each other so you need to find a good rhythm. Because of the tight nature of the lap, there has never been much overtaking, so it`s always a good test of the effectiveness of the DRS."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 21:02

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