Having managed to out-perform his more experienced Force India team-mate in each of the two free practice sessions he contested in the build-up to qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, Paul di Resta will line-up ahead of Adrian Sutil on the grid as well.
The Scot, making his full grand prix debut after sporadic Friday testing appearances in 2010, edged Sutil in second and third practice, although the pair remained tied together on the timesheets, but ended day two of the Melbourne meeting two places and five seconds clear of the German after Sutil suffered a big spin, apparently while deploying his adjustable rear wing at the start of the pit straight. The Force India stalwart claims that there were other influences in the moment, but it resulted in him being unable to improve on 16th spot on the grid.
The Force India F1 Team will start tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix with new driver Paul Di Resta in 14th place and Adrian Sutil in 16th. The qualifying results are consistent with the times set by both drivers during the free practice sessions this weekend. Paul and Adrian will be on the 7th and 8th rows of the grid respectively, right in the middle of the action for the start of the first race of the 2011 Formula One World Championship tomorrow.
"Our speed was okay, better than expected, but, on my flying lap in Q2, I was only a few hundred metres from the finish line when I ran wide on the kerb, lost the rear and had a spin," he explained, "It is a shame because I was on for a 1min 26.1, so I could have been in the region of P12.
"Despite that, it's looking quite good for the race tomorrow; for sure we have opportunities to pass people with the rear wing and KERS, so lets see how it goes."
P12 would have put Sutil in front of di Resta, who clocked a best of 1min 26.739secs in his maiden qualifying session, but the Scot remained satisfied with his efforts in the #15 car.
"I think, if you'd have said that we would be starting the race from P14 going in to qualifying, we'd have been pretty happy," he said, "So, for my first qualifying session, I think we have to be happy with our result today, and it gives me a place to build on for the future. I'd like to thank everyone in the team for their efforts and I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Chief operating office Otmar Szafnauer confirmed that the team was content with the performance of its two drivers, especially as its weekend gameplan had been more focused on race day performance.
"Australia is a race renowned for its high rate of attrition, and we feel confident that our tried and tested KERS hybrid system and overall reliability will hold us in good stead," he revealed, "Today's standings built on our free practice results and gave us some additional information on the Pirelli tyres. We have paid close attention to our tyre strategy today as we believe that tyre choice and management will impact significantly on performance throughout the grid tomorrow. Whilst it would have been preferable to qualify higher up the grid, we are targeting race points and look forward to getting the season underway."