Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta qualified eleventh and twelfth respectively for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and both Force India drivers were relatively pleased with their qualifying performances.
Sutil thinks that he was in with a good chance of getting through to Q3 but is happy with starting just outside the top ten. “Overall I think today's qualifying session went pretty well,” said the German. “I was a little bit disappointed to miss Q3 because we were not too far away from it, but everybody knows P11 is a very good place to start, especially because of the free choice of tyres for tomorrow.
“I was happy with my laps and I don't think I could have found much more. Also, we opted to do just one run on the soft tyres in Q2, which means I have a fresh set available for the race. So I think we can make the strategy work tomorrow and have a good race.”
Di Resta was less than three tenths slower than Sutil despite feeling ill throughout qualifying today. He also had difficulties with car set-up leading into the session, and so is pretty pleased with today’s result.
“Given the weekend we've had I'm pretty happy to be starting P12 – just a place behind Adrian,” he said. “I've struggled to get fully up to speed here and find the ideal balance, which is why we've opted for a set-up more suited to the race. Hopefully that will pay off tomorrow because I think tyre wear is going to be a major factor in this race.
“Also, I'm feeling a bit under the weather today with a sore throat, so I'm pleased to come away with a starting position that should allow us to fight for points. I'll get some rest tonight because this is one of the more physical tracks of the year and will give it my all tomorrow.”
Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley acknowledges that Force India may not be quite as competitive this weekend as they were last time out in Singapore, but is hopeful for a good result tomorrow.
“We always knew the high-speed nature of Suzuka was unlikely to suit our car as much as Singapore, but I think we can be pretty satisfied with our showing this afternoon,” he said. “Two cars just outside the top ten means we are well placed for the race and we have a free choice on tyre strategy.
“Paul did well today considering he's not feeling 100% and Adrian loves this track and delivered once again. There's a long race ahead tomorrow and managing the tyres will probably be the main concern for all the teams. We know we've got a good race car, strong pace over long runs, and hopefully we can convert that into a result tomorrow afternoon.”