Both Force India drivers pronounced themselves pleased after securing positions on the sixth row of the grid for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Paul di Resta was narrowly beaten to a place in Q3 by Bruno Senna in this afternoon’s qualifying session, but was happy with his eleventh place, one higher than team-mate Adrian Sutil.
“Overall I'm pretty pleased with how things went today,” said the Scot. “I was very close to making Q3 and it's a shame to miss out by just six thousandths of a second, but that just shows how fierce the fight is in the middle of the pack. One of the things that made the difference was getting a slipstream, which is something I didn't manage to get for my final run in Q2.
“Even so, I'm pleased with what we did because we were on the edge in that session and that's as much pace as we had. Also, being P11 means I'm the first car to have a free choice of tyres, so perhaps that could work to our advantage, especially as I have a new set of soft tyes available. I'm looking forward to the race because our long run pace has looked pretty good in practice and hopefully that will carry over into the race.”
Sutil is wary of the pace of many rival teams, but is pleased that Force India were close to the top ten today. “It was another normal session for me without any issues and I think we can be quite pleased with the outcome,” he said. “We knew it would be tough to make Q3, but we were quite close and I feel I got the maximum from the car.
“Points are definitely possible [tomorrow], but it's not going to be easy because Renault and Mercedes look quite quick here. Race pace could be a different matter, but we will have to fight very hard to beat them. Plus, there are also a lot of quick cars behind us to watch out for. There are still a lot of unknowns for the race because there are a few options with the strategy and the big question is whether to stop once or twice.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya was also reasonably pleased with the result from this afternoon. He is hopeful for points tomorrow, but suspects that the two DRS zones could throw up a few surprises on race day.
“The qualifying hour at Monza is always spectacular to watch and today's session did not disappoint,” said Mallya. “We went into the day hoping to reach Q3, although we knew it would be a bigger task compared to the previous races because this is such a unique low downforce circuit. In the end we just missed out, with Paul and Adrian lining up in P11 and P12 for tomorrow's race.
“All considered it's not a bad result and was probably the most that was possible today because both drivers drove excellent laps in Q2. I am still optimistic that we can race for points, but it remains to be seen how the DRS will impact on overtaking, which has never been easy at Monza. We will think long and hard about the strategy this evening and look forward to an exciting race tomorrow.”