Force India driver Paul di Resta finds himself down on the eighth row of the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix, but is still confident of fighting for points come the race.
He lines up in fifteenth alongside team-mate Nico Hulkenberg for the third round of F1 2012 at the Shanghai International Circuit, but is optimistic of making up ground to keep up his impressive start to the season.
“My Q2 lap was good and I think I got the maximum from the car. I'm still optimistic for the race because the car seems dialled in to the track and we looked strong during the long runs yesterday so I think we can race with the teams ahead of us,” he said.
The young Brit alluded to the close nature of modern day F1 as a reason for his comparatively poor grid position in relation to the teams he hopes to compete with.
“It was a very close session, especially Q2 where finding a few tenths could have gained us another five places on the grid. My lap was good, but it only puts me P15, six tenths off the fastest time of the session,” he added.
Team-mate Hulkenberg will start one place behind di Resta after qualifying sixteenth. Despite this, however, the German driver still believes it is all to play for in the midfield scrap for points.
“It was quite a tough qualifying session for us, but I think the conditions had changed since free practice and I didn't feel as comfortable with the car,” he continued.
“My final lap in Q2 was a little compromised by some traffic coming out of the pits, but I guess P16 reflects the pace we have at the moment and the fact that all the teams around us are very close in terms of one-lap performance.”
With such a tight qualifying, tyre choice will be key for the race, and Hulkenberg is able to take heart from his performance at the last round.
“We will think hard about the strategy tonight and try our best to move forward in the race. I started P16 in Malaysia and ended up in the points so I will look for a repeat performance tomorrow,” he concluded.
by Philip Barclay