Force India continue to be this years quiet success story. Coming from an also-ran, to a back-marker to a mid-pack in years past, they now are looking strong to compete as the pivotal 5th team. The 5th team is generally the best of the rest after discounting Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes.
Today’s qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix saw Force India placing both cars in the top ten with a P4 for Adrain Sutil and a P10 for Tonio Liuzzi. The team was buoyed by a wet weather qualifying session that caught out Ferrari and McLaren in Q1 leaving Red Bull and Mercedes to claim pole. Taking advantage of that situation, Force India’s Sutil made the most of it:
It was a great qualifying again for us. As I expected it rained at 4pm, I said that yesterday I think! It was challenging and the conditions changed a lot over the sessions. Sometimes it was a lot of rain, sometimes half wet, half dry so it was very important to choose the right tyres. I think we did a great job in those conditions and every session we did the optimum. I am so happy to be in this position now. It’s a great achievement and my team really deserved it. They did a fantastic job: being there on the right time on the right tyre was very important. My time in the end was good for P4: a great job all round.
Sutil’s teammate, Liuzzi, was on pace with Sutil in Q3 until the last few runs when he had a brake problem:
We can be happy about getting through to Q3 as this was our target for this weekend. It was a good qualifying, Q3 started very wet, very similar to Brazil last year, and then it dried up very quickly at the end. I had a problem on the last lap with a locking front brake and lost the last run but that’s how it is in these conditions: you have to get the right spot at the right time. Tomorrow will be a tough race from where we are. We have a lot of quick cars around us but as we’ve seen today we are strong in all conditions. I’m looking forward to it.
This team can be very proud of what they have achieved and they are a shinning example of hos a small team in F1 can not only survive but flourish given good management, time, resources and gray matter. Quietly going about their business of giving Williams, Renault and perhaps Mercedes something to think about as the 4-5th best team in F1.
Sutil’s biggest nemesis is race results. The German seems to either invent problems or fall prey tot hem during the race and no matter how well his qualifying, finishing a race is his biggest criticism. This year there is no Kimi Raikkonen to take Sutil out so let’s hope the young German can make hay with his P4 performance during qualifying today.