Force India relieved underperformance didn’t prove costly

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says his team underperformed in the Hungarian Grand Prix but is pleased it didn’t prove costly.

Ahead of the race, Force India was 19 points adrift of Williams in the battle for fourth place in the constructors’ championship. After a disjointed weekend, Nico Hulkenberg finished tenth, one place ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez and one behind Valtteri Bottas.

Fernley told F1i after the race there were definitely more points on offer if had enjoyed a clean weekend.

“I think we under performed in qualifying and that really was where we were in the race,” Fernley said. “Once you’ve done the first lap you look at where you are and think ‘well that’s probably where I’m going to be’.

“We’ve lost only one point to Williams but in all fairness to Toro Rosso they moved a little closer. It’s very even now. We just probably under performed a little bit across the whole weekend I think, but all being well we can ramp it back up again for Germany.”

And Fernley says the team had a number of small examples of where it failed to maximise its opportunities during the weekend.

“On Saturday Checo just made a mistake in Turn 5 to get him into Q3 otherwise he was through nicely. Nico couldn’t get the car underneath him in Q3 to get the lap that we thought was achievable because we were quite confident we could have got seventh or eighth there.

“Then we lost a position with Nico at the start – went back from ninth to tenth – and it was just that sort of weekend where you were just missing out and didn’t quite tick all the boxes. But at the end of the day we came out with only one point differential to Williams so if you’re going to have a bad weekend that’s not so bad.”

One such error was a slow stop for Perez after the pit crew was not ready for the Mexican to make his final stop.

“That was a mistake on our part,” Fernley said. “There was a miscommunication on the pit wall and we just didn’t get the messages through where it should have done. So one way or the other we would have had tenth effectively. I don’t think it would have made any difference from a team point of view. From a driver point of view obviously it was our fault and Checo technically should have ended up there but sometimes it happens the other way around.”

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