Adrian Sutil is confident that he will start tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix on the right tyre compound, after the German opted to run on the medium tyre as opposed to softer option.
Although he could not manage any higher than tenth, Sutil believes that his Force India team will be in good shape for the race, and is hoping to use his tyre advantage at the start to score as many points as possible.
Meanwhile, Tonio Liuzzi was twelfth in the sister Force India after experiencing a lack of traction. Despite this, the Italian shares his team-mate’s optimism ahead of the opening round of the season, and expects to be strong on a heavy fuel load.
Adrian Sutil (10th): I’m very happy. I think it was a great achievement to go into Q3 at the first race: our best start to the season for a long time. The team should be very proud of it, I am very proud of this, so let’s see how it goes tomorrow. Our goal is now to finish in the points. At the moment I’m in tenth and hopefully we can make one or two positions up as I’m the only car on the hard tyre so it may be an advantage. I’m surprised that the others were on the soft tyres so our decision could pay off tomorrow. We are strong under heavy fuel loads but we were very fast in Q1 and Q2 when everyone was on soft tyres so there are a few more positions we could gain. We worked very hard over the winter and over the last four years and it’s nice to see it giving dividends now.
Tonio Liuzzi (12th): I am a bit disappointed as we didn’t know what had happened to the car since free practice. In the morning it seemed to have a pretty good balance and we didn’t change very much but then we went into qualifying and we had a problem with the traction. That was the main reason we couldn’t go through to Q3. Now we have to work on this and understand what happened but we believe in the race that we should be really strong as yesterday we were quick on the longer runs.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal: I think the whole team can be very proud of this result; it’s a great start to the season and a mark of how much progress we have made over the winter. Last season we didn’t get through to Q2 in this race and this year we’ve got both cars in the top 12. Of course that’s not a precursor to getting points, which is what really matters, but it does give us a much better chance. Particularly positive is that Adrian is starting the race on the harder tyre, unlike the rest of the top ten, so should be well-placed to capitalise as the softer tyre degrades in the warm conditions. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s race now!