Adrian Sutil equalled his best qualifying result of the season after going eighth fastest in Hungary, splitting the works Mercedes cars in the process.
The German turned the tables on teammate Paul Di Resta who had been the quicker of the two in final practice to deny the Scotsman of a place in Q3, before beating Michael Schumacher and Sergio Perez in the top-ten shootout.
The German admitted he was lacking grip in the windy conditions of FP3 before changes to the set-up made him much more comfortable for qualifying.
“I'm very pleased with my qualifying and it feels great to be starting from eighth for the second race in a row. This morning in final practice things did not look so good because I was struggling with a general lack of grip. We changed quite a few things for qualifying – obviously the right things – and this afternoon the car felt really good and I found the lap times we felt were possible. In the past the Hungaroring has not been a track where we have been very strong because it's a maximum downforce track, so it feels great to show once again that our car is competitive everywhere. The race tomorrow will be all about getting the strategy spot on, but we're starting in a good place and I'm looking forward to it.”
Despite narrowly missing out on Q3, Paul Di Resta was fairly pleased with his qualifying result and believes he will be in a strong position tomorrow if he can replicate his long run pace from Friday.
“Starting in eleventh place is not too bad, but I was hoping to be a little bit higher up. I'm still in a good position to score some points tomorrow and it's nice to be starting from the cleaner side of the grid. We had a bit of a messy run in Q1 on the supersoft tyre, but other than that our prime run was very good and I was happy with the car. It's just my final lap in Q2 wasn't quite there so maybe I should have been a bit more adventurous. In practice we've shown that we can be competitive over longs runs and I'm optimistic that we can carry that through to the race.”
After a slow start to the season, Force India have now become regular contenders for a place in the top ten on the grid, a situation that pleases Team Principal Vijay Mallya.
“Once again we have come to a high downforce track and demonstrated that the VJM04 is a consistent top ten runner. This is now the fourth race in a row that a Force India has made it through to Q3 and the whole team can be proud of this achievement. Adrian was superb today and recovered well from a difficult final practice session to qualify eighth – splitting the Mercedes cars. Paul has also shown good speed throughout all the sessions and will be strong in the race. We go into tomorrow in a positive frame of mind and focussed on converting our performance today into more points.”