Paul di Resta narrowly missed out on progressing to the final stage of qualifying for the 2013 F1 Chinese GP, but was happy with the effort overall after ending up with 11th place on the starting grid for Sunday's race in Shanghai.
"I think P11 is a reasonable result considering the difficulties we had during final practice where our performance level dropped away," said the Scot. "The changes we made ahead of qualifying improved things and in the end I just missed out on making Q3."
As it turns out, that's probably as good as position as he could have hoped for, since it means he has a free hand with tyre choice for the start of tomorrow's race in China.
"The good news is that we've got a free choice on tyres for the start and our car has proved to be competitive over race distances, which means we can be optimistic of scoring points," he agreed. "It's going to be a race all about making the tyres last."
Di Resta will start immediately ahead of his team mate Adrian Sutil, who claimed 13th place on the seventh row of the grid. Unlike di Resta, however, the German driver was not sounding content with his day's performance.
“It's fair to say I was hoping for a better result," he admitted. "But for whatever reason the warmer conditions during qualifying did not work to our advantage.
"There was no major problem with the car and I felt happy with the balance, but I lost some performance during qualifying and didn't have the grip to go any faster," he explained. "The positive is that I'm able to choose my starting tyres tomorrow and I have all new sets available for the race, which should allow us to target some points in the race."
The team's deputy team principal Bob Fernley admitted that the up-and0down fortunes for both drivers during Saturday had left the team somewhat scratching their heads.
“It has proved difficult to gauge our true performance level during the practice sessions, but we expected to be a bit more competitive this afternoon," he said. "Paul and his crew did an excellent job to solve the set-up issues that held them back in final practice and in qualifying he was on the cusp of making Q3.
"Adrian's relative lack of performance compared to this morning is a little more mysterious so we need to investigate that in more detail," he continued.
"All [things] considered we are in reasonable shape for the race, especially when you consider the role that tyre performance will play and the variations in strategy," he added. "We know our car is competitive over long runs and with lots of new tyres at our disposal there's every chance to move up the field and claim some points."