14/04/2012

Pre-Race Analysis: not all doom and gloom!

We know that qualifying was disappointing for the Indian contingent today however given recent races and the closeness of the entire grid there is every reason to be positive for Sunday!

Let's not forget that in the last race Sahara Force India qualified 14th and 16th but finished the race 7th and 9th!

From the practice sessions we've seen so far, the trend appears to be that the team are good on the soft tyres but struggling on the hard tyres - that's what tomorrow is going to be about; strategy. Additionally there is a minor threat of rain which can make things completely unpredictable as we saw at the last race in Malaysia.

Anyhow, despite the poor qualifying positions, the aim is still a finish in the points. It's true that some of our expected rivals (Lotus & Sauber) have had great results this season which makes the teams' job of P5 in the constructors championship harder. Despite this though, i'm not worried. There is a long way to go and given the nature of races this season, and the general closeness of all teams, i am expecting some podiums for Force India aswell as all the other midfield teams. So we may be behind at this early stage, but it can so easily all change!

As for Narain Karthikeyan, his realistic aim will just be to beat his teammate as the HRT car isn't really capable of anything more. Nevertheless we wish him the best of luck tomorrow; for him it's all about staying out of trouble and bringing the car home to the finish.

Here's what everyone said about qualifying:

Paul di Resta (Sahara Force India driver)
"It was a very close qualifying session, especially Q2 where finding a few tenths could have gained us another five places on the grid. My Q2 lap was good and I think I got the maximum from the car, but it only puts me P15, six tenths off the fastest time of the session. 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".

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver)
"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. 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. 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".

Robert Fernley (Sahara Force India deputy team principle)
"We always knew that reaching Q3 would be an ambitious target for China, but at the same time we have shown that the developments we brought to the car this week are already paying off and closing the gap. I think we are in good shape for tomorrow and I believe we can be up there battling for points in the race. We were pleased with our performance during the long runs on Friday and the tyres are lasting well, so hopefully we can build on that in the race".

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT driver)
"In the morning we had some trouble with the suspension but we got it fixed in time for the afternoon. In qualifying I got blocked on my first lap and didn't clock a good time on the first set of tyres. On the second set I made a flatspot, so that's the reason I didn't do so well, but nevertheless we're comfortably inside the 107 percent and that's important. Tomorrow if it rains during the race that will benefit us, if not we'll have to try and do the best we can. The target once again is to achieve mileage and I'm confident that the car should be able to make it through the whole distance".

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