Force India endured a tough afternoon in Turkey as Adrian Sutil failed to score points and Paul di Resta retired from the race with technical issues.
Thirteenth place was the eventual finishing position for Sutil, who enjoyed several battles with the likes of Rubens Barrichello and Sergio Perez.
“My start to the race was not too bad: I kept my position and had some good battles with the cars around me,” Sutil explained. “The three-stop strategy was the right choice today and the soft tyres felt like the better race tyre so I stayed on them as much as possible. In the final laps I was fighting hard with Perez and that was a lot of fun.
“Ultimately we didn’t have the pace to race with the cars ahead of us and I think we got as much from the race as we could. The team is working hard to introduce a new aero package at the next few races, which will hopefully bring us a bit closer to the front.”
Di Resta failed to finish a race for the first time in his short career, but was lacking pace even before the premature ending to his afternoon. “It was a tough start to the race, although I managed to hold my position on the first lap,” said the Scot. “However, as the race unfolded the pace didn’t seem quite there and that’s why we decided to change our strategy and make a fourth stop.
“When I was leaving the pits after my final stop, the team came on the radio and instructed me to stop. There was obviously a problem so I pulled up as soon as I could. It was unfortunate because the final part of the race would have been interesting on the fresh tyres.”
Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley acknowledged that their closest rivals were faster than them on race day but congratulated his drivers on their battling spirit. He is optimistic that Force India can catch Sauber and Toro Rosso in the coming races.
“It was a tough race for us today,” he said. “We always knew it would be difficult to match the pace of the top five teams, but in race trim the Toro Rosso of Buemi and the Sauber of Kobayashi were a little bit quicker than us. Both our drivers raced hard and Adrian in particular had some good battles, especially with Perez in the closing laps. I think he got the maximum from his race and the strategy was spot on.
“As for Paul, he had some difficulties with the rear tyres and, with the benefit of hindsight, we probably should have switched him to a four-stop strategy a couple of laps earlier. Ultimately his race came to an end when we identified a fault with the car which meant he had to retire.
“After four races I’m quite upbeat about our start to the season. We were always on damage limitation until the new 2011 aero concept comes on stream in the next few races, but we’re just four points behind Sauber and two points behind Toro Rosso. I’m hopeful we can haul them back in over the next few races.”