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Mat Coch writes:
Force India's confidence ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix seems well placed given a strong performance in qualifying.
Paul Di Resta stopped the clock with the sixth fastest time, while teammate Nico Hulkenberg felt hard done by with just eleventh.
"We had a car which was capable of Q3 and under normal circumstances we'd make use of that," Hulkenberg lamented. "There was a slight communication or mismanagement in the start of Q2 but then my final lap wasn't good enough."
The German missed the cut by just three hundredths of a second. With Mercedes opting not to run in the final phase of qualifying the small margin looks to have ultimately cost Hulkenberg three places on the grid.
"I think we can beat them," he said defiantly when asked about his pace in comparison to the Mercedes pair. "But I think again this race is quite special and maybe it unfolds differently to how we expect.
"Paul was very strong in Monza in qualifying, in the race it didn't turn out to be quite the same."
Unlike Hulkenberg, who was left ruing a missed opportunity, di Resta was satisfied with his performance after a difficult final practice session. "Alarm bells were ringing a bit this morning," he revealed after qualifying. "We were the best part of a second off Nico on the three runs, so fundamentally there was something not right."
Going back on changes made overnight transformed the car, leaving di Resta much happier with its performance. "We were able to regain our confidence and improve each time we were on track," he said.
Like Hulkenberg, Di Resta too believes he has the measure of Mercedes. "We have been a bit stronger than Mercedes this weekend in general up until now, whether that will carry on is another thing but they chose not to run. I think we've got a good enough car to stay in front of them."
Force India has gathered a head of steam in recent races, after a slow start to the year, highlighted by fourth place for Hulkenberg in Belgium. "We've gone to a medium downforce track, to a low downforce track, to a high downforce track and we're been relatively (good) there," di Resta reasoned.
"The worrying thing is Maldonado's on P2," he added with reference to the Constructors' Championship. "If it's not Sauber one weekend it's Williams. It's tight but we've been probably more consistent over the last couple (of races) than the other two."
Williams has scored just eleven points since Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix in May, all courtesy of Bruno Senna. It's allowed Force India to leapfrog the Grove based team in the standings courtesy of forty-five points over the same period.
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