Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta found themselves in the middle of a competitive field during qualifying in Monaco today, and qualified eleventh and fifteenth respectively for tomorrow’s grand prix. Thanks to a penalty for Pastor Maldonado, the two drivers will actually start from tenth and fourteenth.
“I had a pretty good run in both Q1 and Q2 – managing to avoid the traffic and my quick lap in Q2 was pretty neat so I don't think I could have found more time,” said Hulkenberg. “In fact, I almost set identical laptimes in Q1 and Q2. So I'm pretty happy with where I'm starting and hopefully we can come away with some points tomorrow. It's always a fun race, a special place to be and we will be pushing hard to maximise the strategy and get a strong result.”
Di Resta struggled with the balance of his car during qualifying today, and was disappointed with his grid position.
“I felt pretty happy with the balance of the car during FP2 on Thursday, but unfortunately it didn't carry over for qualifying,” said the Scot. “We haven't changed much on the car, but I was struggling with the rear and with traction. So I'm not as far up the grid as I would like to be and it leaves us with a hard task tomorrow, especially because it's so difficult to overtake here. But we also know that Monaco can be an unpredictable race and I hope the strategy can help us fight back tomorrow.”
Team Principal Vijay Mallya, who is attending his first race of the season this weekend in Monaco, realises the importance of qualifying around Monte Carlo, but still things points should be attainable for both drivers tomorrow.
“It's well known that the qualifying hour in Monaco is the most important of the season, so we worked hard to make sure we had optimised the set-up for qualifying,” he said. “Nico did an excellent job and only missed out on making Q3 by a tenth of a second. In fact, he was only half a second off the quickest time in Q2, which shows once again how closely-matched all the teams are. Paul didn't feel totally comfortable with his car, but I'm confident he can bounce back and have a strong race starting from P14.
“I always enjoy the Monaco Grand Prix and we've seen in the past that anything can happen here, so we will be targeting points finishes with both cars.”