Dr. Vijay Mallya, team principal of Force India, has said that his team should be ‘very proud’ of their qualifying results in Bahrain. Adrian Sutil will start 10th in tomorrow’s race, with teammate Liuzzi in 12th.
Adrian Sutil was also the only runner in the top ten to complete his fastest lap on the medium compound tyre. New regulations this year stipulate that drivers must start the grand prix on the same set of tyres they qualified with and so Sutil should have an advantage of the cars in front of him in the early stages of tomorrow’s race.
Mallya pointed out how last season the team failed to get either car out of Q1 last year, but says his drivers must now capitalise on their grid positions by scoring some points. “Last season we didn’t get through to Q2 in this race and this year we’ve got both cars in the top 12. Of course that’s not a precursor to getting points, which is what really matters, but it does give us a much better chance. Particularly positive is that Adrian is starting the race on the harder tyre, unlike the rest of the top ten, so should be well-placed to capitalise as the softer tyre degrades in the warm conditions. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s race now!”
Sutil was very pleased with his performance in qualifying, and has similar goals in the race to his boss. “I’m very happy. I think it was a great achievement to go into Q3 at the first race: our best start to the season for a long time. The team should be very proud of it, I am very proud of this, so let’s see how it goes tomorrow.
“Our goal is now to finish in the points. At the moment I’m in tenth and hopefully we can make one or two positions up as I’m the only car on the hard tyre so it may be an advantage. I’m surprised that the others were on the soft tyres so our decision could pay off tomorrow. We are strong under heavy fuel loads but we were very fast in Q1 and Q2 when everyone was on soft tyres so there are a few more positions we could gain. We worked very hard over the winter and over the last four years and it’s nice to see it giving dividends now.”
Liuzzi was disappointed not to join his teammate in Q3, but believes he is in a good position to make up places tomorrow. “In the morning it seemed to have a pretty good balance and we didn’t change very much but then we went into qualifying and we had a problem with the traction. That was the main reason we couldn’t go through to Q3. Now we have to work on this and understand what happened but we believe in the race that we should be really strong as yesterday we were quick on the longer runs.”