Hulkenberg joins Schumacher on second row at home

Reuters

Sat, 21 Jul 18:26:00 2012

Nico Hulkenberg looked forward to his biggest challenge of the season so far after joining seven-times Formula One champion Michael Schumacher on the second row of the starting grid for their home German Grand Prix on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Force India driver was fifth fastest in qualifying but will move up to fourth after Red Bull's Mark Webber, who finished third, was penalised five places for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Scotsman Paul Di Resta was ninth as Force India got both their cars into the top 10.

Hulkenberg, who produced his best qualifying performance since he started on pole for Williams in Brazil in 2010, is one of three Germans in the first four starting positions for Sunday's race.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, on pole for the second race in a row, was the only outsider.

"I feel very excited because it's always special to qualify well, especially at your home race," said Hulkenberg, who has both the McLarens nehind him.

"It was a session that had a bit of everything because we ran on slicks, intermediates and wets."

"When you start high up you naturally want to finish high up as well and I hope we can have strong race."

Hulkenberg raced for Williams in 2010, joined Force India as a test driver last season and was promoted to race driver this year. He produced a career-best fifth at the European Grand Prix in Valencia in June.

"To bring it back home in that position is the challenge tomorrow and it's quite a big task," said Hulkenberg. "We will try to defend as best we can but the pressure is always there."

Team principal Vijay Mallya said Force India had "demonstrated once again that we have a very consistent car no matter what the conditions."

Schumacher, 43, was the last German to win on home soil in 2006.

 

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