It was another disappointing qualifying session for Force India today in Hungary as they again failed to get either car into the pole position shoot-out.
However, the result was better than the disastrous showing in Hockenheim last week: Adrian Sutil was only two tenths off Q3, and will start tomorrow’s race thirteenth, and Tonio Liuzzi will start in sixteenth, just behind seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
Despite failing to make it into Q3, Sutil still sounded positive after qualifying. “I am quite happy about the qualifying performance today,” said the German. “We’re very close to the top ten, which we didn’t think we would be after this morning. We struggled to make the soft tyres work again and in the end went out in qualifying not really having a clear picture on performance, so 13th position is a good result.
“We know tomorrow will be tough as it’s a hard place to overtake but our race pace is good. We will look to have a quick start, use strategy and pit stops to make a difference and try to gain as many positions as we can.
“I always think points are possible and I’ll be going into the race pretty positive after this performance today.”
Tonio Liuzzi’s qualifying preparation was hampered by a problem in this morning’s free practice session. He blames traffic for his relatively lowly grid slot and is expecting a difficult race tomorrow.
“We had some problems with a driveshaft boot (a component that stops grease leaking from the driveshaft) in the morning and didn’t run the soft tyres so we went into qualifying not knowing completely how we would perform,” explained the Italian. “However the balance was very easy and we looked positive in Q1, setting a good time fairly quickly.
“Unfortunately I hit traffic in Q2 and didn’t get a clear lap, and then lost the rear in the last corner on my last lap. I was more than half a second faster until that point so we could have got a much better position for the start. Q3 would have been very difficult but for sure we are not in a position we should be.
“Tomorrow it’s going to be difficult to overtake but there’s always hope and with our race pace we’re encouraged we can make up at least a couple of positions.”
Vijay Mallya also sounded pragmatic after qualifying, noting that the Hungaroring was always considered one of the most difficult for the team:
“A very good effort from the team and both drivers on a track we know doesn’t completely suit us.” said the Force India team principal. “It’s very twisty and low grip and our strengths tend to be more to the quicker, flowing circuits. We knew it would be a tough weekend but we’ve put ourselves in a reasonable position for tomorrow’s race.
“It’s not ideal, but bearing in mind the small issues this morning, to be just two tenths from Q3 is a very encouraging result. The Hungaroring is a difficult place to overtake but it’s not impossible and we will be trying to get as many positions back as we can to maintain our championship position.