Nico Hulkenberg insists Force India is still carrying momentum from the end of last season despite a less encouraging start to 2012.

14131 - Force India still has momentum - Hulkenberg

Force India finished 2011 impressively and only lost out on fifth place in the constructors' championship to Renault by four points. The target for this season was then to secure fifth, but so far Force India has seemed to make less progress than those around it in the midfield - notably Williams and Sauber - and as a result has only had one car qualify in the top ten.

Hulkenberg, however, is unconcerned, and he told the official Formula One website that he was reserving judgement on the team's competitiveness until he's had a clean race.

"Yes, the momentum is still there," Hulkenberg said. "It's still too early to draw any final conclusions. Remember that my first race ended at turn one and the second one was in messy conditions, so I can't really say how strong we are yet. Let's wait another few races and we will know more, especially from our performances from Barcelona onwards when our new aero updates will be crucial. I think we have a car with potential, now it's our job to extract that!"

While the team looked impressive during pre-season testing, Hulkenberg said that he knew it wouldn't be challenging near the front but admitted the other teams were hiding more pace than Force India.

"I wouldn't say that we were one of the strongest. We knew that the top teams were hiding their pace, so we didn't expect to be fighting for podiums. So, it's not that we have lost our strength, it's more that probably the others were sandbagging more than in previous test sessions. We expected it to be close in the midfield and that's what we see now."