Both Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers made into in Qualifying 3 in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, which the Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley sees as a result of the hard work put into the development of the car.
Esteban Ocon will start the race in fifth position and team-mate Sergio Perez will start seventh. Both drivers benefited from the grid penalties of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen – Ocon gained two places and Perez one.
Nevertheless, even before the penalties, both cars had performed well and were sat in good positions on the grid. Fernley believes this can be attributed to the work the team has been putting in to continue with the development of the car, even in the later part of the season.
“A very strong qualifying session with both drivers delivering on the promise we showed during practice,” commented Fernley.
“The car has been competitive all weekend and it’s further validation of the excellent work we have done lately to keep pushing the development of the VJM10.”
Fernley believes that both drivers are in a perfect spot to score big points in the race tomorrow. They will have to contend with the faster cars of Bottas and Raikkonen, and could come under pressure from Felipe Massa in the Williams Martini Racing car.
“With a couple of grid penalties for the cars ahead of us, we should move up on the grid with both cars and it means we are very well placed to score well tomorrow.”