Instead of dwelling on his Singapore disappointment, Nico Hulkenberg heads to Japan with a positive mindset.
Force India looked set for another double points finish at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday as both Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were comfortably running in the top 10.
While Perez went on to finish seventh, Hulkenberg’s race came to an end shortly after the first round of pit stops as he collided with Felipe Massa while the Williams driver was making his way out of the pits.
The stewards found that the German was to blame for the incident and slapped him with a three-place grid penalty for the Japanese GP, but Hulkenberg has vowed not to let that get him down.
“The benefit of back-to-back races is that you can get back in the saddle right after a disappointing race,” he said. “Singapore was a missed opportunity to score a lot of points but I’ve put it behind me now: I would rather focus on the positives and on the good pace we showed until the accident.”
He added: “The challenge of Suzuka is making sure you find the right rhythm. The lap is technical and you have to be precise because almost all the corners flow into the next one. That’s why a small mistake can be very costly in terms of laptime if you lose the flow of the whole lap.
He also has the backing of his team principal Vijay Mallya, who is once again confident that their car will be able to compete high up the grid on the tricky Suzuka track.
“We come to Japan after three consecutive points finishes and determined to keep up our momentum,” he said. “The updated VJM08 has shown it can compete well on all kinds of circuit so the challenge of Suzuka, which is a pretty unique track, is something to which we look forward.
“Unfortunately, Nico will have a grid penalty to deal with, but I am confident he’ll make up for it.
He continued: “Suzuka is one of the classic tracks in Formula One and another important step in our battle for fifth place in the Championship.
“The medium-speed corners that make up most of the circuit will provide a good test for the VJM08 and will give us another indication about the effectiveness of the upgrades we brought to Singapore.
“We are not letting go in the development race and we will keep pushing until the end, so it is crucial we gain performance with every new step we take.”