• Force India

'Sacrifices' paying off for Force India - Hulkenberg

ESPN Staff
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Nico Hulkenberg has been impressive since his return to Force India © Sutton Images

Nico Hulkenberg admits he is fully aware Force India gave up plenty before he even returned to the team to put it in the strong position it finds itself in this season.

Force India has seen a marked improvement under the new regulations this season, returning to the podium for the first time since 2009 in Bahrain. It is a contrast to last season where, after some promising results in the first half of last season, Force India finished no higher than seventh after the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg was driving for Sauber in 2013 before returning to Force India for the new campaign, and he believes those struggles now seem worthwhile in hindsight.

"I think new regulations create a reset for all teams," Hulkenberg told the Times of India. "It changes the established order a bit and that is what we've seen this year. I think it has given us a chance to be more competitive than in previous seasons. The team sacrificed a lot last year to concentrate on 2014 and I think it has proved to be a sensible decision."

Despite seeing Perez take Force India's long-awaited second podium in Bahrain, Hulkenberg is currently fourth in the drivers' standings behind Fernando Alonso. Ferrari saw a dramatic upturn in fortunes after the resignation of Stefano Domenicali in China and Hulkenberg believes Force India has a job on its hands to challenge for third.

"It's impossible to say," Hulkenberg said when asked if he could compete with Ferrari all season. "Ferrari are strong and Fernando has beaten me in three out of four races, so it will be a tough fight to catch Fernando.

"One of your ambitions must be to get a podium finish this year. It's definitely the goal, but the most important thing is consistency over the year and to make sure we are scoring points at each race."

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