The Force India team reinforced its position as the fifth-best team in F1 with a strong Thursday performance ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil both featured in the top ten during the brace of 90-minute practice sessions and, while only the Scot remained there on the final timesheets, the team was happy with its potential.
“A fairly typical day of Monaco practice as we focused on getting a good feel for the softest tyres in Pirelli's range and letting the drivers build up their speed,” chief race engineer Jakob Andreasen commented, “In terms of tyres, we feel comfortable with the amount of data we have on both compounds and it's now a case of optimising the car for the weekend. It's a rare luxury to have an extra day to analyse the data and we will make the most of the opportunity.”
di Resta racked up an impressive 43 laps during the afternoon session – the first outing have witnessed a 30-minute lull at the start – and confirmed that, a couple of minor tweaks aside, the VJM06 was responding well to the street circuit.
“A good day's work, although there's always lots to talk about after two sessions around Monaco,” the Scot admitted, “There are some improvements we can make to improve the balance, especially with the race in mind, and that's something we will work on tonight and tomorrow.
“The tyre programme went well and we got as much data as we could, which is always the main focus for a Friday so I think we're in good shape. My general feeling with the car is good and the work we've done today has taken us in the right direction.”
For team-mate Adrian Sutil, the two sessions marked a return to the Principality after a year away from F1.
“It's always a pleasure to come back to Monaco and drive an F1 car at the limit,” he noted, “For me, it is two years since I last drove here, [but] it did not take me long to find my rhythm again and things went pretty well. We made some progress between the two sessions and I'm feeling comfortable with the car. We know what the plan is for tomorrow and where we can improve to be ready for Saturday.”
Although Jenson Button pushed his McLaren ahead of both Force Indias in the day's combined standings, the Silverstone-based team is confident of again having the measure of its rival on race day.
“Performance-wise, I would say we are in our usual position and the target for Saturday is to see both
cars inside the top ten,” Andreasen concluded.