Modest day for Force India

In a matter of seconds, Nico Hulkenberg went from making it to Q1 to finishing 12th at the end of Q2 during qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix here on Saturday.

While the German looked a lot more composed with his racing lines to clock a good time of 1:26.241, Paul di Resta (1:26.989) was all over the place to finish 16th after two sessions.

Hulkenberg, who lies 12th on the drivers’ table with 45 points, put on his best run in the dying seconds of Q2 to lie in ninth and make it through to Q1 with a few cars still out on the track. Much to his disappointment, the other guys put on better times, pushing him down a couple of places.

“We went into the session targeting and expecting to make Q3, so it’s a bit disappointing to miss out,’ said Hulkenberg after qualifying. “We just missed being in top ten but my lap was very good. I think we did a good job with the set-up and balance of the car.

“Nothing went wrong (with my performance) I think others just picked up the pace. I think chances of points are fully alive. I am twelfth, which is not far away from points. The long-run pace was also not bad and the degradation of tyres seems to be good for our car.

I am optimistic going into the race but we will have to fight it out and the points won’t come easy.” Di Resta too had his share of bad luck. The Briton was on his last run at the end of Q1 and looked like he was in a position to put on a great time but lost out as he got caught up in some traffic on the final corner. Di Resta could not repeat such a lap in the subsequent sessions, resulting in a poor finish.

Meanwhile, Hispania Racing Team’s Narain Karthikeyan, the only Indian F1 driver at the circuit this season, was pipped by one-thousandths by team-mate Pedro de la Rosa in the battle for the 23rd spot. The Coimbatore-born driver went past the chequered flag in a time of 1:30.593 while De la Rosa finished in 1:30.592.

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