Season review: Force India


Constructors’ Championship: 7th
Points: 109


Nico Hülkenberg
Points: 63
Best qualifying: 4th
Best race result: 4th

Paul di Resta
Points: 46
Best qualifying: 6th
Best race result: 6th


  • Hülkenberg leading the Brazilian Grand Prix.
  • Their fourth-place finishes at Spa and Singapore.
  • ‘That’ pass by Hülkenberg in Korea when he got past Hamilton and Grosjean.

It’s easy to immediately think of the Brazilian Grand Prix when you evaluate the Force India drivers’ seasons. There Hülkenberg briefly lead and was in the process of passing Hamilton for the lead again when he lost the back end and slid into the McLaren. Despite the (undeserved) drive-through penalty it was a superb race by the German and one which has marked him as a future star. Di Resta, on the other hand, looked set for points until he ploughed into the wall in the closing stages.

That’s by no means a proper picture of their seasons, though, as only two races earlier, at the Abu Dhabi GP, Hülkenberg crashed at the first corner. It’s funny what you forget when someone produces a great drive (see also: Maldonado).

Di Resta had the upper hand for much of the season with some great displays of driving in Malaysia, Bahrain and most notably Singapore. Of course, Hülkenberg had sat out 2011 as Force India’s reserve driver, but that hardly seemed to make a difference in qualifying for the first race in Australia where he got a middling car to ninth on the grid.

It was Belgium where Hülkenberg’s season really got going as after running as high as second, thanks to Grosjean’s attempt to play F1 10-pin bowling at the first corner, he managed to finish a surprise fourth. That pole position for Williams in 2010 was no fluke…

As the season wore on it became apparent that not only did Hülkenberg have the speed, but he could also be relied upon – mostly – to bring the car home in the points. His last six results for the team read as follows: seventh, sixth, eighth, retired, eighth, fifth. Not bad for a car that was never a front-runner.

Di Resta, after his strong start, didn’t seem to progress as quickly as Hülkenberg and despite the new chassis in Abu Dhabi he failed to match his team-mate. If he was the only driver at Force India you’d say that the Scot had a really good, solid season. But with the likes of Hülkenberg by his side he had to do better than that.

It’s the same in all the midfield teams – if you want to be picked out as a future star (Hülkenberg is surely going to Ferrari in 2014) then you need to outdrive the machinery. We saw it with Alonso at Minardi, Vettel at Toro Rosso and Hülkenberg in Brazil.

It will be interesting to see who lines up alongside di Resta in 2013 and how they compare.

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