Nico Hulkenberg has been given a one-place grid penalty for Sunday’s German Grand Prix after a tire mix-up during qualifying at Hockenheim.
Hulkenberg qualified seventh for Force India, but used a set of super-soft tires in Q1 that should have been returned to Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli ahead of the session.
“The team returned electronically the wrong set of tires and used these during Q1,” a short statement from the FIA stewards in Germany read, confirming Hulkenberg’s one-place grid drop.
With the penalty, Hulkenberg will now start eighth in Germany behind Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, who finished narrowly behind.
“I’m feeling pretty happy to qualify in seventh for my home race – it’s best of the rest behind the top three teams and a good effort by the whole team,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying.
“Our objective is always to maximize our potential and it feels like we achieved that today. Most of my laps in the session came together nicely and my final effort in Q3 was spot on.
“We can expect a tough fight for good points tomorrow, but we are in a good starting position and we’ve looked strong here in all the sessions. The long run pace is competitive, too, so we’ve got every chance of getting a great result this weekend.
“There is talk of some rain tomorrow and to be honest I would not mind a shower during the race, but let’s wait and see what happens.”
Teammate Sergio Perez qualified ninth on Saturday, reaching Q3 for the first time at Hockenheim.
“It was a fun and very intense fight with Nico and the two Williams cars throughout qualifying, and in the end it was really close between the four of us,” Perez said.
“It was crucial to get through Q1 on one set of tires because some other teams had to use two sets and this gave us a small advantage in Q2, which helped us make the top ten.
“On my last lap of Q3 I struggled a bit through some of the right-hand corners; I think I may have picked something up on my front wing – maybe some debris – and that cost me some time, but it’s something I will analyze with the team.
“In the end, it was so close and just a few hundredths of a second made the difference. Tomorrow is going to be interesting.
“We are starting on the super-softs on which we qualified and we will need to work well as a team to make the strategy work and score some important points.”
The German Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.