Hulk's prayers answered
German lines up fourth on good day for Force India
By Mike Wise at Hockenheim. Last Updated: 21/07/12 8:27pm
Nico Hulkenberg's prayers were certainly answered during qualifying for the German Grand Prix when he escaped a spin before going on the secure a place on the second row of the grid for Sunday's race.
The 24-year-old lines up fourth, moving up a place because of Mark Webber's gearbox penalty, but the outcome could have been rather different at the start of the final session at Hockenheim.
A heavy rain shower had left the track waterlogged in places, with Hulkenberg aquaplaning off on the approach to the Turn 6 hairpin.
His car did not end up in the tyrewall, however. Instead, the young German took a trip through the gravel before going on to secure Force India's best qualifying result of the season at his home race.
Furthermore, they placed both cars in the top 10 for the second time in three races after team-mate Paul di Resta set the ninth fastest time.
"That was not scheduled; that was quite a shocking moment," Hulkenberg admitted. "Going down the parabolica straight, there was a lot of water - all the session - and I just aquaplaned off and prayed 'don't touch anything'.
"Luckily I didn't. We just went through the gravel and I was able to continue."
Between Hulkenberg's narrow escape and Webber's misfortune, it could be suggested that the former had enjoyed more than his fair share of luck.
The driver himself thought otherwise. "It's not just luck," Hulkenberg responded. "I think it was a good performance by us. We were on the track at the right moments and I used the laps in the right moments."
He added: "We had a lot of bad luck in the first few races, so we could do with a bit of luck as well."
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Di Resta said that he had struggled to get a clear lap in when it mattered most.
"We were quite quick at the beginning of Q3. We seemed to be in the top three, but at the end when everyone was backing off, we were the car that was kind of in their way," he said.
"I had to keep backing out and when I went for the last lap, I didn't have any temperature in the tyre."
With no rain forecast for Sunday, both Force India drivers qualified with a dry-set up.
However, with track temperatures expected to be higher than they have been all weekend, di Resta anticipates plenty of guesswork strategy-wise.
"The conditions are going to be quite a bit different," added the Scot, who was an early casualty in his home race two weeks ago following a collision.
"I think the track's going to rubber in quite a lot during the early stages of the grand prix and nobody really knows how long the tyres are going to last and what compounds are going to be the one to be on - a bit like Silverstone really."