Sahara Force India's Paul Di Resta qualified in 12th place for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, while teammate Adrian Sutil was in P17. A grid penalty for a gearbox change will demote Adrian further down to 22nd on the grid.
Paul Di Resta, VJM06-04, 12th: “Given where we started yesterday, I think we should be pretty happy with P12. Slowly but surely we’ve made the car more drivable and in qualifying it felt quite good. The overnight efforts of everyone at the track and back at the factory have helped dial the car into the circuit. Compared with yesterday the car feels much more stable and predictable, and that’s allowed us to get within a tenth of making Q3. I’m feeling upbeat about the race because the long runs have looked consistent and we are well placed to fight for points with a free choice on tyre strategy.”
Adrian Sutil, VJM06-03, 17th (to start from 22nd after penalties): “It’s not been an easy day. I made a mistake this morning, damaged the car and we had to change the gearbox. I have to say a big ‘thank you’ to the team for getting the car ready in time for qualifying because they had a lot of work to do during the lunch break. In Q1 the car was quite difficult to drive, I didn’t feel comfortable and was missing the grip to be competitive. All I can do now is look forward to the race and hope we have a better day. With the grid penalty [for the gearbox change] I will be starting near the back so I need to try and deliver consistent race pace and hopefully move towards the points.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “Suzuka has been quite a challenge for us this year, but the changes we made overnight were a step in the right direction and improved the drivability of the car. An accident for Adrian halfway through FP3 was unfortunate and although the mechanics did a fantastic job of repairing his car, he was on the back foot going into qualifying. On the other side of the garage Paul was in better shape and showed very strong pace in Q1 and Q2. In the end he was unlucky to miss out on a place in Q3, but he’s done enough to be firmly in the battle for points tomorrow. We’re feeling quite optimistic about our race pace and tyre life, and if we get the strategy right we can take the fight to the cars ahead of us.”