The Sahara Force India Formula One Team had mixed qualifying session for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit with Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez starting the race from ninth place. Speaking following the session, the Mexican commented by saying:
Starting from ninth place is not too bad all things considered and we can race well from there. It’s a shame I couldn’t complete my lap in Q3, but the main thing is that Daniil [Kvyat] is okay. Perhaps if I had the opportunity to set a time I could have been ahead of Romain [Grosjean], but hopefully I can get ahead of him at the start tomorrow because I think Lotus will be our main competition. It’s going to be a tough race because there are some quick cars ahead of us, but you never know what can happen here and we still need to see what happens with the weather. Tyre management is always important in this race and with the wet Friday there are still some question marks.
Nico Hulkenberg ended the session in eleventh place however the German was handed a grid penalty for causing an accident with the Williams of Felipe Massa however because Daniil Kvyat will start the race from the pit-lane, Hulkenberg will start the race from 13th place.
Speaking following the session he commented by saying:
Of course it’s disappointing to miss out on Q3 by such a small margin, but I can’t complain too much about our performance today. I think my qualifying lap was pretty good and I felt I was pushing the car to its limit: unfortunately that wasn’t enough, but I know it was our best effort. It’s difficult to know what we can expect in tomorrow’s race: the midfield battle is very tight and everyone around me will make it really hard for me to get back into the points. I had hoped to qualify a bit higher to offset my penalty, especially as this is not the easiest place to overtake. It will be interesting to see how the lack of running from yesterday will affect others: we managed to do a good job with our set-up this morning, but there are plenty of unknowns about the long run pace.
Sahara Force India Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley commented by saying:
Having lost the whole day to the rain yesterday, this morning didn’t look too promising, but we worked hard leading up to qualifying and found a good direction with both cars. Checo continued his brilliant form to qualify in the top ten and starting from ninth gives him a good chance to have a strong race. Sadly, the red flag at the end of the session meant he wasn’t able to put in a lap and be further up the order. Nico made a good step forward as well, but unfortunately he missed out on a place in the top ten by the smallest of margins. Of course, he’ll have a bit of an uphill battle with his three-place grid penalty, but even starting from P14 he should be able to fight for points. Racing in Suzuka is never predictable, even when the weather remains dry: it’s a track that punishes mistakes, so we will need to be ready to take any opportunity tomorrow.