Force India's hopes of scrapping with McLaren over fifth place in the constructors championship took another blow this weekend when they failed to score a single point in the Japanese Grand Prix.

And now the team and drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil have to start looking over their shoulders at Sauber who are rapidly closing on them in the points standings. While Force India are still 17pts ahead of the Swiss squad, Sauber gained on them by 14 points at Suzuka alone.

With Sutil starting from the back of the grid after a gearbox change penalty on Saturday, the team's hopes of scoring any points in Japan were on the shoulders of Paul di Resta, but it didn't work out for the Scot.

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"At the start of the race I didn't get a good launch and a few cars came by me," he admitted. "Then we lost out at the first pit stop because the Williams of Bottas jumped us.

"That compromised the second stint, which is why we went very aggressive with an early second stop to get track position and move ahead of the Williams," he revealed. "The car felt better for the final stint and it looked like we were on course for a point.

"In the end we were about five laps too short with the tyre life because I couldn't defend from Jenson," he said, after ending up in 11th place just outside the points following the pass on lap 47 by the McLaren driver.

"Paul came close in P11, but his race strategy was hampered in the second stint when he was running behind Bottas," added Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley. "He finally cleared the Williams by pitting early for his second stop, but we were missing the pace to fend off the recovering Button and that cost us the final point."

In the end, di Resta was just able to avoid being lapped by Sebastian Vettel which meant that he was the last car still on the lead lap by the end of the Japanese GP. His team mate Adrian Sutil was unable to recover from the setback of his back row starting position and ended up in 14th place.

"It's been a very tough weekend and starting from the back of the grid made it difficult to get close to the points," the German sighed. "In the end I finished P14 and had some good battles, but there was a lot of oversteer in the car and it was not easy to be consistent.

"The best part of the race was the start because I moved up to P16, but we just didn't have the race pace we needed today and couldn't get the performance from the tyres," he admitted.

"We made no secret of the fact that Suzuka was going to be the most difficult track for us in the second part of the season," said Fernley. "It's been an uphill struggle for us, but we remain upbeat as we head to India for the team's home race.

"The upcoming tracks should play more to our strengths and give us the opportunity to get back to scoring regular points," he said.