Hulkenberg: Gap to field will become clear in Melbourne

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Nico Hulkenberg has remained upbeat despite only getting his first run in the 2015 Force India VJM08 today in Barcelona, some 26 days after the other eight teams debuted their new cars.

The German driver got the first chance to drive the car on Friday, completing 77 laps and posting a fastest lap time of 1:28.412 as he enjoyed a productive afternoon following the roll-out.

Force India is expected to be on the back foot come the first race of the year in Australia, and Hulkenberg believes that it will only then become clear how far behind the team is.

“I guess we’ll only find out once we’re in Melbourne,” he said. “In theory, it’s not ideal, and having had more test time with this car for sure would be better. The situation is as it is now as we know and we’ll just deal with it as good as we can from here.

“I think we have a good crew together and usually we learn quite quickly. In this case we have to learn quickly, and see where we can push ourselves into in Melbourne.”

Hulkenberg was pleased with the car’s initial performance, completing a good haul of laps with the biggest problem being a small puncture following his outlap.

“Just from a pure running point of view I thought it was very good,” Hulkenberg said. “Straight out of the box there was no issue, not one powertrain-wise, car-wise.

“We did 77 laps only in an afternoon. I think that’s quite remarkable. The boys have done a good job, they’re pushing really hard obviously.

“I don’t know what we could have done differently. With our backs against the wall there’s not much we could do. It is as it is now. We’ll just deal with it as best we can.”

Hulkenberg returns to the wheel of the VJM08 on Saturday in Barcelona before handing the car over to teammate Sergio Perez for the final day of pre-season testing on Sunday.