Formula 1

Sutil Takes First Top-Ten Grid Slot of 2011 in Valencia

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Adrian Sutil took his first top-ten grid position of 2011 today in Valencia whilst Paul di Resta recovered from a difficult Friday to qualify twelfth.

Sutil, who will start from tenth, secured his Q3 place in the dying seconds of Q2, and chose not to run at all in the final part of qualifying. He explained that Force India had decided instead to save him a fresh set of tyres for tomorrow’s race.

“The car has been working pretty well all weekend and I felt that we had a good chance to make it through to Q3 today, but I knew that we would have to get the lap just right,” said Sutil. “That's why this result feels great because I got the maximum from the car.

“We didn't go out in Q3 because we felt it was better to save another set of soft tyres for the race. Also, we saw in Q2 that Heidfeld was three tenths away and that it would be difficult to improve on P10. So it's a good grid position, but the race is what counts so hopefully we can convert this into points tomorrow.”

Di Resta was expecting to struggle in qualifying today, thanks to his lack of running so far this weekend. However, he is optimistic that he can fight for points from twelfth place.

“After the problems we had in free practice, I knew that I would be on the back foot today having only completed three timed laps yesterday,” the Scot said. “But we tried our best this morning to get up to speed with the car before qualifying.

“On my final flying lap in Q2 I was on the edge and simply made a small mistake at turn 17 – I missed a downshift and ran wide. That meant I lost the advantage I'd made at the start of the lap. So I will start from P12, which is not too bad considering all that has happened this weekend. I'm staying positive and think that we can fight for points from there.

“The only unknowns are that I haven't done a long run on high fuel and it's difficult to know where to start with the aero balance or when to conserve the tyres. So we will try and make the most of what we know.”

Team Principal Vijay Mallya was very pleased with his drivers’ efforts today. “Today's qualifying performance confirms the progress we have made recently with the development of the VJM04,” he said. “To see Adrian qualify in the top ten, ahead of one of the Renaults, is a tremendous effort and probably the most that we could have expected today. The car has been competitive right from the start of practice and it is satisfying to see that pace translated into a strong starting position.

“Paul has also done an excellent job after losing nearly all his track time yesterday. To qualify in P12 shows how well the entire team has worked to recover from a difficult situation. For tomorrow, we will fight hard and hopefully bring home some points.”

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David is an occasional contributer to the site on matters related to Formula 1. You can follow him on twitter at @Dr_Bean.
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