Formula 1

Force India Claim First Top Ten Grid Position of 2011 in China

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Force India got a car into Q3 for the first time this season in China today as Paul di Resta qualified eighth on his 25th birthday.

Team-mate Adrian Sutil narrowly missed out joining di Resta in Q3, mainly thanks to a red flag two minutes from the end of Q2, caused by the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, which broke down on track. Despite this, the German was reasonably pleased with his grid position.

“It was a good qualifying and I am looking forward to the race tomorrow,” he said. “This weekend has so far been much better than the last ones, with no real problems so it looks good for us. It was a little bit difficult at the end of the session when the red flag came out and I missed out on a final flying lap, but overall I am very happy and our car performance is improving well.”

Di Resta, who today celebrates his 25th birthday, was delighted with the first top-ten qualifying position of his short Formula 1 career. “I could not have wished for more today and it’s nice to get into Q3,” said the Scot. “After missing the whole of FP2 yesterday we knew that it was going to be difficult this morning, but we’ve got a small upgrade here and it certainly improved the performance today.

“Luckily I did my quickest lap in the second running in Q1, as I just struggled a little bit with balance in the others. Our race pace seems to be not too bad, so fingers crossed we can pick up some points again tomorrow as we have in the previous two grands prix.”

Dominic Harlow, the Force India circuit engineering director, thinks that the improvement in the team’s qualifying performance is indicative of their improving pace. “I think that we were there on merit and the car’s improving pace is showing,” he said. “Adrian also demonstrated this with his P11, just missing out on the third period of Qualifying. With the red flag, and having been weighed earlier in the session, he wasn’t able to complete a full second outing. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to the race tomorrow and, of course, aiming to secure further points.”

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