23/09/2012

Singapore GP - Saturday Analysis

FP3 Results: Hulkenberg 4th (1:48.859), di Resta 7th (1:49.684), Karthikeyan 22nd (1:54.421).
Qualifying Results: di Resta 6th (1:47.241), Hulkenberg 11th (1:47.975), Karthikeyan 23rd (1:52.372).

Although 6th & 11th are good positions, i just can't help but feel a little disappointed that both cars didn't make Q3. Nevertheless, the team are in a good position for tomorrow - that's what we should focus on.

Paul di Resta did a good lap in qualifying, in fact, it was his best lap of the entire weekend! He was only 0.025 seconds behind Alonso who secured 5th place. Let's just take a second to digest that, only 0.025 seconds behind a Ferrari; we've come an awful long way since 2008!

Meanwhile Nico Hulkenberg pushed very hard, but just missed out on Q3 by a mere 0.032 seconds. It's P11 for the German driver. The good thing about this position is that he has free choice of tyres for the race. Additionally, he saved some tyre life by not having to set a lap in Q3.

Tyre wear will be crucial tomorrow. My guess would be that most teams will opt for a three-stop strategy. However if someone is feeling brave they may try a two-stop. Our main rivals, Sauber, will probably try a two-stopper. Thankfully for Sahara Force India, Sauber have looked poor in terms of race pace through all the practice sessions. Williams have looked similarly slow, although Pastor Maldonado was able to do a cracking quali lap to take P2 on the grid. I'm not worried about this though. Pastor is a bit of street-circuit specialist but their car simply doesn't appear to have the baseline pace. While Pastor may be able to do something special over one lap, can he do it consistently over a race distance? I doubt it. I'm predicting our cars to finish ahead of him.

It's going to be an exciting race for sure - let's hope both drivers can stay out of trouble and bring the cars home for a double points finish, that's the aim tomorrow.

At the back of the grid, Narain Karthikeyan did a wonderful lap in qualifying to beat teammate Pedro de la Rosa for the second time in two races. Narain described it as "an almost perfect lap", he was nearly a whole second quicker than his Spanish teammate! Can Narain stay ahead over 61 laps? It's definitely possible! You never know, Narain may bag points here if there are alot of problems further up the field :-)

Post-Saturday quotes are here. Enjoy the race guys!

P.S The threat of rain in the race had abated; it shouldn't be an issue today.

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