Szafnauer hails 'brilliant' line-up

Sunday 10-August-2014 07:43

As Force India take to the fight to Formula 1's traditional powerhouses, Otmar Szafnauer has applauded the brilliance of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.

Ahead of this year's Championship Force India changed their entire driver line-up.

The team brought back Nico Hulkenberg, who had spent a season with Sauber, and signed Mexican racer Sergio Perez from McLaren.

The duo have worked well together with Force India holding down fifth place in the Championship. The team lost out to Williams ahead of the summer break but remain in front of McLaren in the standings.

"Brilliant. Just brilliant," Szafnauer, Force India's chief operating officer, said of his driver pairing.

"We have a very good relationship, a long-standing one, with Nico. He is very intelligent, has good feedback and helps us develop the car.

"Sergio has fitted in very well in his first year. He is a very quick racing driver, especially in the races. He finished on the podium and Nico has scored in every race (bar one), so they've both done a very good job."

Asked by the official F1 website whether he was 'surprised with how well' Perez had gone compared to the highly-rated Hulkenberg, he said: "Well, if you look at his past history, he did well at Sauber before McLaren took him, and he was against Kobayashi who is no slouch.

"And in the second half of 2013, he kind of took it to Button, especially in the races. But he also out-qualified Button, 10-9 over the year - and Sergio is typically stronger in the races than he is in qualifying.

"Nico has been consistent and outscored Sergio, but Sergio has been unlucky, like contact with Massa and when he couldn't get out of the garage to start in Malaysia.

"Am I surprised at his form? Not really. He is focused, wants to do well and is a good driver. I think we've got a good combination, and they're both brilliant at driving the team on."

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