Force India leave Shanghai empty handed this evening after Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg could finish only P12 and P15 in today’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Di Resta said that his team and their nearest rivals were closely matched on pace today and that they just fell short of the top ten places that would have yielded points.
“It was an extremely close race today and although we were able to keep ourselves in the hunt, we were just missing the pace to catch people and make up any more ground,” the Scot explained. “So it was a bit like the race in Australia where there were lots of cars running very close to each other and a lot of guys nursing their tyres.
“I think we made some good calls with the tyres and there were lots of different strategies playing out around us. It was also incredibly slippery offline with the marbles making things very tricky. So we go away from here knowing that we are not too far away from the other teams and determined to get the car dialled in nicely for Bahrain next week.”
Hulkenberg had a bad start today, and that is the reason he cites for his low finishing position. “I didn't get a great start because there was a lot of wheelspin and I lost a few places straight away,” recalled the German. “Then I picked up some damage to my front wing on the first lap.
“I don't think I hit anybody, but there was a lot of debris flying around going into turn one so maybe that's when it happened. That made the first stint very difficult because there was massive understeer and I had to change the nose at my first stop.
“We targeted a two-stop strategy, which I think was the right choice because our pace was strong towards the end of the race and I closed up on the main pack, but I think we lost too much at the start to make a real impact in the race.”
Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernleywas able to takes some positive points from the afternoon. “We always felt that scoring points in today's race would need an element of luck or attrition, but as it was we saw almost 100% reliability,” he said.
“Paul was in the mix for most of the race, fighting to get in the top ten and ending up just under eight seconds from seventh place, and just 22 seconds off second place, which shows how competitive the field was today. Nico's race was compromised by a poor getaway and the front wing damage, but we take encouragement from the pace he showed, especially towards the end of the race.
“We know that our race pace relative to our midfield rivals is not too far away and hopefully we can continue to close the performance gap quickly. ”