Melbourne: Force India enjoyed a positive start to the 2014 Formula 1 season as Nico Hülkenberg scored six points with a seventh-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix here Sunday. Teammate Sergio Perez just missed out on points in 11th. (Racecentre | Race in pics)
Mercedes' driver Nico Rosberg delivered a superlative performance to win the season opening race at Albert Park. Starting third on the grid, the German driver overtook pole position man and teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo right at the start to lead the entire race and finish on the top step of the podium.
Ricciardo, debuting for Red Bull, achieved the first podium of his career at his home race finishing second ahead of McLaren rookie and debutant Kevin Magnussen, who took third in his first ever F1 race. (Also read: Talented youngsters shine in Australian Grand Prix)
Hulkenberg, who started seventh, indulged in fighting for fourth position throughout the race with the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. The German did the first 33 laps of the race on soft tyres and completed the last 24 on mediums.
"Seventh place is a positive way to start the season. I was very happy to see the chequered flag -- the first time I’ve done so in Melbourne -- and it’s important to score some good points early on. I made a strong start and enjoyed good track position for the first two stints when I was running up in fourth," said Hulkenberg.
"It was a shame to lose two positions at my second stop but it looks like some of the cars around us have a bit more pace at the moment. I want to thank the team for the amazing job they’ve done over the winter and this weekend to get us to this point."
Perez also had a strong race after starting 16th and finishing just outside the points.
“I’m satisfied to finish the race but disappointed not to score points. My race became very difficult on Lap 1 when I got hit at Turn 3. It gave me a puncture and I had to return to the pits very slowly which dropped me to the back of the pack. After that I just tried to keep a consistent pace and was quite fortunate that the safety car came out which helped me recover some positions," said Perez.