Force India say that 11th and 16th in qualifying for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix doesn’t really represent their true pace.
Adrian Sutil missed out on Q3 by just one tenth of a second but wasn’t overly disappointed to be starting the race just outside the top ten. “It was still a good qualifying for us. Force India has done a great job all year, we have brought some updates to this circuit that work really well and we’re very consistent.
I believe we have a top 10 car and I think we could have got through to Q3 again today, but you need to have a perfect lap and I got a bit of traffic with a Renault in the last sector and lost a couple of tenths, which was all we needed for Q3.
I’m not really disappointed but obviously it could have been better. Eleventh is good for the start though as from there we can still have a good race tomorrow.”
Teammate Tonio Liuzzi had a throttle issue in final practice which hampered his preparations for qualifying. He qualified 17th, but is moved up one position after Vitaly Petrov was handed a five-place grid penalty for changing his gear box. “For me it was a really difficult day,” said the Italian, “as we lost 90% of the earlier free practice session with a throttle problem so we couldn’t improve our set-up. Then we jumped straight into qualifying with a lot of expectations, but we couldn’t get the right balance and struggled a bit with overall grip, which is why we are where we are.
“It was a shame as we expected a lot from Barcelona, it’s an important race at the start of the European season. There’s still a lot we can do from where we are though and if we get a wet race, which we could do, there’s still everything to aim for.”
Vijay Mallya, the team principal, thinks that despite their qualifying problems, his drivers can still score points tomorrow: “I think the positions we are in today don’t really represent our true form and pace here. The updates we have brought to the track are performing as expected and we have been consistent over the longer runs in practice.
Tonio has had a hard day in the office and couldn’t get the most out of the session after he struggled to find a balance following his earlier practice problems. Adrian was unlucky to get caught in traffic on his fastest lap, which would have given us enough to make Q3 for the fifth consecutive race.
“From where we are points are definitely still possible and we’ll look to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way to get them.”