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GP Week : Issue 159
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg scored a career-best fifth place finish in Valencia yesterday, after converting his eighth place grid position into a solid points-scoring finish thanks to his two-stop strategy. The German’s achievement was all the more impressive when it emerged post-race that he had had to contend with a KERS failure for most of the Grand Prix, costing him valuable tenths in his fight with team- mate Paul di Resta. Hulkenberg lay 11th after his second pitstop, before picking up a plethora of places with the retirement of Vettel, Grosjean and Hamilton, along with the demise of Ricciardo and Maldonado. Although his pace dropped off in the closing laps as his tyres lost grip, he was able to hang on to fifth place by just one second from Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. “A great result for everyone in the team today and for me personally. Fifth place is a great achievement after a very long and difficult race,” said Hulkenberg. “The two-stop strategy worked well, but the last stint was very long and it was hard to hold off the cars behind me on fresher tyres in the last few laps. “We got a bit lucky with some cars dropping out, but we were in the right place to capitalise on things so I’m very happy about today.” Team principal Vijay Mallya revelled in his team’s success, with di Resta’s seventh place finish making it Force India’s best result of the year. “A thoroughly enjoyable race today and I’m delighted to see our cars come home in fifth and seventh places, our strongest result of the season and Nico’s best finish in Formula One,” said Mallya. “Nico had to drive most of the race without KERS, so it was an excellent performance by him.” Di Resta and Hulkenberg both pick up places in the drivers’ championship, while Force India are now just a point adrift of Williams in the constructors’. KERSLESS HULKENBERG SCORES BEST F1 RESULT IN FIFTH 26 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> EUROPE