Force India's Hulkenberg astonished by Silverstone track

AFP
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg drives during the qualifying session for the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit on July 5, 2014
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg drives during the qualifying session for the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit on July 5, 2014 (AFP Photo/Tom Gandolfini)

Silverstone (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Nico Hulkenberg, one of three Germans in the top four on the grid for the British Grand Prix, said he had never seen a circuit dry as fast as Silverstone did in the closing minutes of Saturday’s remarkable qualifying session.

The 26-year-old Force India driver, who qualified fourth thanks to an exceptional late lap in the final seconds, said he feared he might have an accident when he began his lap.

“I have never felt a circuit dry up that quickly," he said. “First, I felt it was un-driveable -- and the next minute I felt it was completely dry. It was hard to judge what was going on out there.

“On the out lap, I thought 'oh gosh this is not going to work, let's not crash the car'.

“I was the first car to set a lap time in the final part, so I was still suffering from a few damp patches, but it's a good result and I hope tomorrow is a good day."

His assessment was backed by Mercedes team chief Niki Lauda who confirmed that home hero Briton Lewis Hamilton had made a mistake to abort his final flying lap when Germans Hulkenberg, title race leader Nico Rosberg and defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull all chose to attack for a faster time.

“It was tricky in the end, we were both well in the lead, then we had to make a decision on whether we go out again,” said Lauda, referring to Hamilton and Rosberg.

"They both pushed to go out. Lewis thought the circuit was slower so he stopped, Nico kept going -- it was Lewis' decision because he thought he cannot go quicker, but Nico thought you can go quicker and he was proved right.

“This time Nico was outstanding again to grab pole under these difficult conditions."