April 20th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Force India's strong start to 2013 continued with a competitive qualifying result for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil both took part in Q3 and set the 7th and 8th fastest times respectively. Both drivers will benefit from grid penalties for Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber, which moves them up to fifth and sixth on the grid and into a very competitive position for the star tof the race.
It's been a generally competitive weekend for Force India. Both drivers have been in the top ten in each of the three Free Practice sessions and now in qualifying as well. The Force India VJM06 is proving to be a good all-round car, quick at different types of race tracks and fairly kind to its tyres. Up to now, however, a series of frustrating problems has prevented Di Resta and Sutil from taking home the sort of points possible with the car they have. Tomorrow they could change their fortunes with a strong double points finish.
No-one in the team is saying it, but the podium must surely be the target in tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix. It will require a good start, a clean race and careful tyre management, but it seems possible given the pace of the Force India car during this weekend.
This is what the drivers had to say after Saturday practice and qualifying:
Paul Di Resta: “We knew we were in good shape to challenge for Q3 today and we looked strong throughout all the sessions. As the tracked gripped up we didn’t quite have the speed we expected, but I’m still pretty happy with what we’ve achieved, especially as I will move up to fifth with the grid penalties. We’re in a great position for tomorrow; the car is strong and our long run performance yesterday gives us every reason to be hopeful of challenging for some good points.”
Adrian Sutil: “The car was quite tricky to drive today and the grip level of the track made it difficult to complete the perfect lap. My final lap in Q3 could have been better, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome, especially if I move up to sixth. The track suits us, we like the warm weather and things look promising for tomorrow. It’s a good starting position to have both cars on the third row and we will be looking to move forward in the race.”