© Ubaid Parkar, 6 October 2012
|© AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Nico Hulkenberg was the recipient of a five-place grid penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix after the gearbox in his Force India was changed ahead of schedule on Saturday.
The unit, which is to last for five races as per regulations, was replaced as a precautionary measure after the German had crashed in the final practice session.
“The build-up to qualifying was quite intense because the guys were working hard to repair my car after the accident this morning,” Hulkenberg said. “It was not a big impact, but the angle was unfortunate and there was quite a lot to fix.”
A strategic decision was taken to save tyres with the 25-year-old opting not to set a time in the final leg of qualifying – handing him the tenth spot - to open up the strategy for Sunday’s 53-lap race, which he will start from 15th on the grid.
Teammate Paul di Resta, who qualified 12th, as a result will benefit from Hulkenberg’s drop to start a position higher.
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