Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Suzuka, 2012Nico Hulkenberg labelled his seventh-place finish in the Japanese Grand Prix as a well-deserved and unexpected result following his penalty.

The German driver qualified in tenth position on Saturday but dropped down to 15th after being forced to replace his car’s gearbox following a crash during final practice.

Hulkenberg admitted he did not expect to secure such a strong result after his Saturday problems.

“If you had told me before the race that we would finish seventh, I would have taken it straight away – so I’m very happy with today’s result,” said Hulkenberg.

“I made a great start, moving ahead of several cars and was able to keep out of the trouble in turn one. By the end of lap one I was already in eighth and as it turned out we had good pace.

“The car felt strong throughout the race: there was a nice balance and I was able to chase Lewis and Kimi hard and put pressure on them. They edged away towards the end and for the closing laps I just had to make sure I kept ahead of Maldonado.

“So another seventh place – a well-deserved result for the team after a tough weekend for the mechanics and six important points for the championship.”


Parker Kligerman Trevor Bayne Out! Pet Care Toyota Jason Leffler