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Hulkenberg: Qualifying will be true judge of upgrades

13 May 2016

Nico Hulkenberg came away positive after sampling Force India’s upgrade package for the first time in Spain on Friday, but insisted he is withholding judgement for now on their ultimate potential.

Both Hulkenberg and team mate Sergio Perez finished inside the top ten in FP2 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and the German reported definite progress with his revised VJM09 machine.

“Today was pretty cool,” he told Formula1.com. “With all our new parts we could rather easily keep the pace with the so-called front-runners.

“It will be interesting to see what qualifying teaches us - whether it is a continuation of the good pace, or a hard landing in reality.”

Force India have endured a tough start into the 2016 season, scoring just eight points to date. While part of that has been down to poor luck, Hulkenberg admitted it’s also connected to certain traits of the VJM09 – ones he hopes the latest updates will address.

“The weak points of the car are the certain characteristics – namely that it works on some tracks and not on others,” he said. “These new parts are aimed at eliminating these characteristics and at producing more downforce and grip.”

Hulkenberg has reached Q3 in qualifying at all but one Grand Prix so far this year, though he has yet to end a Saturday higher than eighth in the times.