Neither of the two Sahara Force India drivers could make the top—10 as Paul di Resta qualified 14th on the grid and Nico Hulkenberg 16th for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix here on Saturday.
Resta’s best lap time of 1:37.877 and Hulkenberg’s 1:37.890, under hot weather conditions, could not get them into Q3, and scoring points would be difficult for the side.
McLaren had a one—two finish on the grid, led by Lewis Hamilton, who got pole position by clocking the fastest lap in 1m 36.219, followed by teammate Jenson Button (1:36.368).
Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher was third (1:36.391) and behind him was Red Bull’s Mark Webber (1:36.461).
Comeback man Kimi Raikkonen (1:36.461) was fifth for Lotus, followed by Red Bull’s defending champion 1:36.634.
Force India drivers put up a brave face despite the fact that things have become difficult for them.
“We definitely improved the car between final practice and qualifying. My laps in Q2 were good and I got sectors one and two right, but I maybe have lost out in the final sector, which I never really maximised,” Resta said
“I think P14 is a reasonable place to start and hopefully our race pace and tyre management will pay off tomorrow. The other variable is the weather because there is always a high risk of showers late in the afternoon,” the Scot added.
Rookie Hulkenberg said he got what was best possible out of the car and that it will be a challenging day for him tomorrow.
“To be honest, though, I don’t think there was any more to come because I pretty much got the maximum from the car.
Now it’s all about racing well and using the strategy to try and come away with a result.
“Having already missed most of the race last weekend in Melbourne, it almost feels like the first race of my season, so hopefully, I can go the distance and have a strong performance. Tyre degradation will be a key factor in the race and the chance of rain could also mix things up,” the German said.
Keywords: Sahara Force India