Australian GP: Force India qualifying report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM01/03): Practice: 17th 1:27.489 (18 laps) Q1: 19th 1:27.859 (9 laps) Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM01/05): Practice: 9th 1:26.682 (18 laps) Q1: 17th 1:27.207 (9 laps) The Force India Formula One Team was...

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM01/03):
Practice: 17th 1:27.489 (18 laps)
Q1: 19th 1:27.859 (9 laps)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM01/05):
Practice: 9th 1:26.682 (18 laps)
Q1: 17th 1:27.207 (9 laps)

The Force India Formula One Team was today desperately close to achieving its objective of entering the second segment of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, the opening round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. After a strong performance throughout the weekend, both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil were just under a second from putting the VJM01 into the top 16, and will start in 17th and 19th respectively.

Both drivers completed three runs in the first segment - increased from 15 to 20 minutes this season - but could not reproduce the strong laps of this morning's practice, which saw Giancarlo record the 9th quickest time. Adrian spun on his final lap of the qualifying session, which ultimately ended his hopes of getting into Q2 for the first time, while Giancarlo had to lift off due to the resulting yellow flag.

The team is however optimistic of a picking up places in the midfield group, after demonstrating a strong pace over longer runs. The 58-lap race will start at 15.30 local time tomorrow.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)

'It was not such an easy qualifying as the track conditions were quite different to this morning. The general grip level was lower and I struggled with some understeer with new tyres, but the second run was OK, even though the balance was not great. On my last lap I felt it was going well until the second sector but when I got to the quick left-right chicane in sector three I got a lot of understeer and went wide on the exit. The car jumped and I couldn't control it and spun. It is a bit sad as maybe I could have caught Bourdais, but we were very close to second qualifying and maybe in Malaysia we could still make that little step. But we are there and are closer than last year, which is a little success already.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)

'Seventeenth, just one place behind the top 16 and Q2, so it is a bit disappointing considering the weekend so far. In the last part of my quickest lap, there was a yellow flag but there was also a lot of graining on the tyres and I lost at least three tenths. But we know we are there and are improving. The team has made a good effort so far - we know we still have a lot of work to do but we are going in the right direction.'

Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer

'A very disappointing qualifying session for us. Unfortunately on his final lap Adrian lost the car and sadly that yellow flag meant Giancarlo had to back off. The small delay was enough to not get through to Q2, but as we showed this morning, we have a car that is very close with the midfield group and the odd tenth can make a big difference. We know we have got a competitive car relative to others so we have to look to pick up more places tomorrow.'

-credit: force india

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Mike Gascoyne , Adrian Sutil
Teams Force India