Force India ends qualifying rut at Silverstone

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Force India has ended its poor run of form in qualifying to get both of its drivers in the top ten grid slots for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg will start the race from fourth place, three places ahead of Mexican teammate Sergio Perez. For the first time this season, both Force Indias will start inside the top ten, and it is the first time since the Chinese Grand Prix in April that either of its drivers are higher than P10.

Hulkenberg managed to take advantage of the changeable weather during qualifying to secure fourth place on the grid, and he made no secret of his delight after the session.

“That worked out really well for us and I’m very happy to come away with fourth place on the grid,” Hulkenberg said. “On days like this you just need to be in the right place, with good timing and a little bit of luck.

“The track conditions were changing so much and at the end of Q3 I’ve never seen a track dry so quickly. There were a few spots of rain in the middle of the session, but on my final lap it was completely dry.

“Fourth place sets us up nicely for tomorrow, but it’s hard to know exactly where we stand in terms of race pace.”

Perez’s qualifying form has been particularly patchy of late, having made Q3 just twice this season. However, he felt that he could have done better than seventh place today.

“Today leaves us with mixed feelings,” he explained. “It was very good to get both cars in Q3 and ahead of some of our most direct competitors. Had they offered us this result before the session, we would have been satisfied.

“However, it is also disappointing as we know we could have had an even better result. We were in P3 up to the last lap, but when the track improved and I went out for a last run I ran a bit wide in turn 12 and lost all the temperature from my tires.”

With Force India’s closest rivals – Williams and Ferrari – failing to make it past Q1 at Silverstone, tomorrow’s British Grand Prix presents a golden opportunity for Vijay Mallya’s team to jump up to third place in the constructors’ championship.

You can watch the British Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.