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All three Sahara Force India drivers were in action today during free practice at Yas Marina ahead of this weekendâ€™s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was another day of midfield running for the Force India team with reserve driver Jules Bianchi and Paul di Resta getting 56 laps between them in the second car, and both men going 15th quickest in their respective runs, while Nico Hulkenberg ran right through the day and was 12th quickest in the morning and 13th quickest in the afternoon.
With Force India making little progress in their performance over the weekend in recent races, it appears that team could be left with another outing where they might find both drivers missing out on Q3 tomorrow, and struggle to battle to get into the points on Sunday.
Here's what the drivers had to say...
Nico: â€œI think itâ€™s still difficult to know where our performance level is right now, but we probably need to raise our game and improve a bit overnight if we want to challenge for points. The balance is not perfect just yet so we need to work tonight to get the car closer to the sweet spot. Apart from that we got through the programme, collected all the tyre data and so it was a fairly normal Friday.â€
Paul: â€œI think we learned quite a lot this evening, but thereâ€™s a lot of work ahead of us to understand where we stand and where we can improve. This track is all about grip in the low and medium speed corners and thatâ€™s where we need to focus tonight. In terms of tyres we collected a lot of data today so we will be working hard to make sure we get them in the right operating window for qualifying and the race.â€
FP2: P15 1:43.578 34 laps
Jules: â€œIt think this was probably my best free practice session so far. Iâ€™ve done lots of testing here before so I know the track really well and felt very comfortable. The programme was quite simple with three runs, lots of laps and we improved the car with each run. The track improved a lot during the session, but the tyres went off quite quickly so it was difficult to improve my times at the end of the session.â€
FP1: P15 1:45.769 22 laps
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: â€œA pretty solid day of practice with all three drivers working together well and getting through the programme. Jules was in the car for FP1 and he did exactly what we needed and delivered consistent lap times. As usual we had some test items to evaluate, which we did with Nico, before focussing on tyres and longer runs in the afternoon. It was an important session for Paul, who has not felt totally comfortable with the car in the last few races. Weâ€™ve tried our best to address his concerns so hopefully those issues are behind us with the chassis change.â€
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