Paul Di Resta expects Force India to be in the thick of the midfield battle once again after finishing Friday practice in 13th place. Di Resta managed that time despite a problematic session while work was carried out to his brakes. The Scotsman's left rear brake also caught fire in the pits during FP1 when he pulled in with a right front puncture.
Di Resta admits he isn't 100% certain how quick the team is but feels he should be able to better his 15th place from qualifying a week ago.
“A very hot day in the car, but we got through most of the programme and have enough information going into tomorrow. There was an issue with one of the brake discs in the afternoon session, which probably looked more dramatic from outside the car, so the team made some changes before I started my long runs on the medium tyre. It's always difficult to read too much performance-wise from a Friday, but I would expect the midfield to be very competitive once again this weekend.”
Teammate Nico Hulkenberg was one place better off in 12th this afternoon and thought the VJM05 felt totally different than it did in Melbourne last weekend.
“There's not a massive amount to say about today because it was a normal Friday where we focussed on getting on top of the tyres and trying to get the car in good shape for tomorrow. I think we learned quite a lot and the car feels totally different compared to Melbourne because of the track characteristics and the hotter conditions. The set-up work we did is promising for tomorrow and the long runs have given us lots of useful data, which was something we missed out on doing in Melbourne.”
Chief Engineer Jakob Andreasen was encouraged by the long run pace of the cars today and thinks looking after the tyres will be all-important during the race.
“As always on a Friday, the main priority was to try and get a good understanding of the tyres, which we managed to do with both the medium and hard compound. The driver feedback is encouraging and we demonstrated some good pace over the long runs this afternoon. Other items on the job list included the usual checks to our cooling solutions, especially the engine, as well as some aero comparisons this morning. The only small issue was the braking problem for Paul in the second session, which cost us some track time as we made changes to the brake material; but we understand what happened and will revert to a known solution for the rest of the weekend.”