Paul di Resta declared himself ‘very happy’ with his flying lap in Q3 at Monza today, which was good enough for fourth place on the Italian Grand Prix grid.
Unfortunately, the Force India driver must start back in ninth, after incurring a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gear box change.
“The car has been working well all weekend so I knew we were in good shape going into qualifying,” said the Scot, looking back on his efforts today. “We were in the top five of free practice and the car has got better and better with each run as the track evolved.
“I’m very happy with my Q3 lap, which was my quickest lap so far – so we maximised it when it mattered. I think the entire team has done an excellent job to get us in this position – we’ve trusted our instincts and just worked away at dialling the car into the track.
“I knew I was going to have a grid penalty for the gearbox change, which is frustrating, but at least I will start inside the top ten. The challenge now is to make sure we have the race pace and use the strategy to come away with points.”
Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg had a disastrous session. His car failed before he even got a time on the board, and will start from the back of the grid tomorrow.
“A very short and disappointing session for me,” said the German. “I was about to start my first timed lap in Q1 when I suddenly lost drive. I pulled over at the first chicane and the team told me to switch off the car.
“It’s a shame this happened on a day when the car looks so competitive, but that’s racing. Starting so far back tomorrow will be tough, but I will try and push through so that we can hopefully come away with something from the race.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya said the problem on Hulkenberg’s car looked to be related to fuel pressure, and praised Di Resta for his drive today.
“We had a very competitive car today and Paul delivered an excellent performance to set the fourth fastest time in Q3 – it was his quickest lap of the weekend and his best ever qualifying performance,” said Mallya. “It’s just unfortunate that he will take a five-place penalty for the gearbox change. Even so, he will be in the mix tomorrow and will be strong in the race.
“The big disappointment of the session was the technical fault on Nico’s car, which we believe to be related to fuel pressure. Without this issue I’m confident we would have had both cars well inside the top ten. The task now is to come away from here with points to strengthen our position in the championship.”