Nico Hulkenberg has said Force India can be proud with its achievements in the 2012 season.
The Silverstone based team finished seventh in the championship, down a position on 2011, but amassed the greatest number of points in their history.
Hulkenberg sat out the 2011 season after being dropped by Williams and admitted that it took a while to get back up to speed.
“Obviously I had the whole F1 experience from 2010. But that was on different tyres, without DRS, and without KERS. Still, out of the bad situation of not racing the good news was that I was able to do 14 Friday mornings, to feel the car, get to grips with the new tyres and DRS and KERS etc. That was an important path to stay in there and keep the motivation and everything up,” he said.
Force India struggled for speed in the first part of the season, with Hulkenberg saying that the car’s competitiveness increased when F1 returned to Europe.
“Pretty much throughout the year we’ve been in a position where we could score points, so we have been competitive. From Europe onwards, it went better again, and we were able to gain some more performance”.
The German believes the second half of 2012 could not have been better, although he admitted being disappointed by his error when challenging for the lead in Brazil.
“It couldn’t have been better. I think after the summer break I came back strong again, processing everything I’d learned up to that point, stepping up my performance again and just getting more confidence and more comfortable in the car. Overall I’m very happy with what we’ve done in the second half of the season and it’s been really good. In Brazil I had my first leading kilometres, which was very nice, even though at the end we couldn’t quite get on the podium. Obviously there’s disappointment there.”
Hulkenberg rated the Japanese and Korean events as the highs of his 2012 season, as well as a strong showing in Valencia. Having now driven his last race before departing for Sauber, Hulkenberg added that Force India can be proud of their year.
“We have been quite competitive this year. We were seventh in the constructors’, but with the competitiveness of this year, with Williams stepping it up and having a race win, and Sauber stepping it up having four podiums, it’s been very difficult. It’s been the most successful year for us as well – we never had so many points, so I think we had a good year and we can be proud of what we achieved”.