Nico Hulkenberg says he is not surprised by his charge to seventh place in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on Saturday, believing it to have been the best result Force India could have scored.
Force India traveled to Austin embroiled in a tight battle with Williams for fourth place in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship, currently enjoying a 10-point advantage with four races remaining.
Hulkenberg featured in the top 10 throughout practice at the Circuit of The Americas, and converted this impressive pace into seventh place on the grid in qualifying.
The German finished clear of Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa in P8 and P9 respectively, but was not surprised by such a strong showing.
“No, this was expected. We always thought the car should perform quite well here,” Hulkenberg told NBCSN after the session.
“Seventh was the maximum we could do. For our own power, we couldn’t be with the top three. But beat Williams by half a second, and that wasn’t really expected. All good.”
With every point proving crucial in the battle with Williams, Hulkenberg was asked whether he would like a lonely race to seventh on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t mind that. A quiet race can be nice,” Hulkenberg said.
“It’s chip away and take the points home. I don’t plan for a messy first lap, but that could happen. I just want a good result.”
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET on Sunday.