Di Resta in top ten despite practice absence
21 April 2012 – Force India impressed at Sakhir on Saturday, with Paul di Resta in particularly good form as he reached the top ten shootout. Team-mate Nico Hülkenberg will start 13th on the grid despite both drivers missing the entire second practice session yesterday.
After four team mechanics were caught up in a protest when heading back to Manama on Wednesday night, the team elected to skip second practice in order to send all staff back to their hotel before darkness fell in Bahrain on Friday – the day of the week which has attracted most demonstrations in the region over recent weeks.
“I’m very happy with our qualifying performance today,” di Resta said. “With our reduced programme yesterday it wasn’t easy getting all the work done, but the team did a good job to get the car dialled into the track before qualifying. I had a great lap in Q2, just three tenths away from the quickest time, but in Q3 we all took the decision from a strategic point of view to save tyres. I think this will put us in the best shape for tomorrow and I hope we can deliver a strong race.”
Despite the result, there is sour taste for some as Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM television feed failed to show either Force India car during qualifying on Saturday; this is believed to be as a consequence of the negative press which the Englishman has been receiving, with talk having built since Force India’s Friday decision. However, in the team’s post-qualifying press release, the issue was not brought up.
“I think the whole team has delivered an impressive performance today, which leaves us in a competitive position heading into the race,” says Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley. “We are now looking forward to the race and building on today’s showing to help put on a great spectacle for Bahrain.”
At the last Bahrain Grand Prix to date in 2010, Vitantonio Liuzzi scored two points for Force India in ninth place as Adrian Sutil fought back to 11th after a Turn 2 spin.