After qualifying seventh today for Sunday’s Airtel Indian Grand Prix (LIVE, 5 a.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra), Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg said he expects to have a “close battle” with the twin McLarens of Sergio Perez (qualified ninth) and Jenson Button (qualified tenth) in the opening stages of the race.
Both sides took opposite strategies in qualifying, with Hulkenberg using the soft compound and both Perez and Button using the harder medium compound.
“It will be interesting to see who comes out on top,” said Hulkenberg, who has collected 32 points over the last four races and grabbed eight of them with a sixth-place run last time out in Japan.
“In the race, we have to see how we get on with the soft tires, as they didn’t look too good in free practice yesterday. Since then, we have improved the car, so they should last a bit longer. The long runs on the medium tire looked good.”
Hulkenberg will look to keep up a solid second half of 2013, which, naturally, he’s been enjoying after a tough first half for himself and the entire Sauber camp.
“If you have a competitive car like we have now, you have to make the most of it and enjoy every moment,” he said. “We’ve come from a very different position at the beginning of the year, so it makes you realize how nice it is to be battling at the front.”