Despite a good start in today’s Chinese Grand Prix, Force India leave Shanghai without any points after Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil finished the third race of the 2011 season in eleventh and fifteenth respectively.
The duo were running seventh and eighth at the end of the first lap, but the opposition were just too strong as the race unfolded. Di Resta was overtaken by Kamui Kobayashi three laps from the end of the race, whilst Sutil was the victim of an incident involving the other Sauber of Sergio Perez, causing him to have an unscheduled pit stop for a new nose.
“I was unlucky with the incident with Perez, which cost me the race,” said the German. “But in the end we had problems as well with the tyres, they didn’t last as long as we thought and I was just struggling the whole time.
“We have to understand why we were not so competitive in the race this time; in qualifying we were much better, so we will go away, analyse everything and I think it is good that we have the break now before the next race in Europe.
“The team back at the factory did a good job to get us to where we are after these first three races; we just need to work out what happened in particular today to bring both qualifying and race performances together.”
Di Resta thinks that his two-stop strategy was possibly not the best way to approach today’s race but, despite leaving the race pointless, he is happy with how the weekend went.
“It was always going to be quite a tough race, starting from where we were,” said the 25-year-old. “We came very close to scoring points, but just missed out at the end when the tyres had gone. Having gone into the race without heavy fuel runs may have compromised us a bit.
“We didn’t quite get the aero balance right at the start, but the second and third stints I think were pretty good, just a bit longer than expected because we had to stop early to try and cover Michael [Schumacher]. May be a three stop strategy would have suited us better, but only time will tell in the simulations. But we came here relatively strong in performance and I think we have to be very thankful of that.
“Overall I am still very happy on how the weekend went considering we qualified into Q3 and came close to scoring points once again.”
Force India Circuit Engineering Director Dominic Harlow said that the team were disappointed not to take any points from the race, and is aiming for more improvements by the next race in Turkey.
“P11 and just missing out on a point for Paul, and P15 for Adrian is not the reward we’d hoped for after a fantastic effort from the factory and the team this weekend,” said Harlow. “The race started well with both cars on the option tyres for their first stints. Once the higher degradation set in we elected to pit Paul on lap 11 and Adrian on lap 15 with a second stint on the soft tyre.
“Two stops was just possible, and after a switch to prime for both drivers we held on to our track position for as long as we could, with Paul only loosing out in the final laps. Adrian was the victim of an incident with Perez, which dropped him a little further back.
“Overall though we’ve shown better pace in qualifying, and that we can still race very strongly. We’ll look at what we’ve learned today and aim to continue improving when we next race back in Europe.”