Force India aim to build on strong start at Melbourne GP. Adrian Sutil will have to play the lead role again.
Sahara Force India got off to their best ever start to a Formula 1 season last Sunday when comeback man Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in an exciting Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. Both Di Resta and Sutil have mixed feeling going into the season's second race in Kuala Lumpur this weekend.
Story first published on: Wednesday, 20 March 2013 16:15
Malaysia's scorching temperatures are a worry for all drivers and Di Resta says: "You never know what to expect! It could rain, or it could be dry. Temperatures are going to be high, degradation is going to be high, but I think our car is going to suit the warm weather.
"We've had a reasonably strong performance for the last couple of years in Malaysia, so I think we should go there feeling quite optimistic. We have a few days to conquer the jet lag and hopefully be fighting fit," added Di Resta.
Sutil, by comparison, is tentative about the race at Sepang. He said: "I finished fifth in 2010, so I have some good memories. It's not my favourite track, but it depends on the car. If the car is quick and stable, you enjoy it more, but sometimes you really struggle with the balance, and then it's a real challenge - the corners are so long, you need a lot of aerodynamic grip.
"It's a track I like to drive, but it's not like a Monaco or a Spa. I don't really know what effect the high temperatures will have because we haven't had them during testing. I think the weather in Australia suited us quite well, so let's see how Malaysia is."
But the strong performance in Melbourne has kept both Force India drivers upbeat.
Di Resta, who finished eighth, said: "It's positive to have four points on the board already, but it's a shame I was stuck behind Jenson (Button) at the beginning of my second stint. He was running a three-stop race and essentially that's what lost me a lot of track position.
"We've got some things we need to pick up on and we can definitely make some improvements, but we're in a good place to start the season. Also, we've seen already that we can make a stop less than some of our competitors so let's see if that remains the case in Malaysia."
On his seventh finish at Albert Park, Sutil said: "It was a great feeling! We were on a different strategy and we knew we would probably go to the front quite early in the race, but we never expected to be leading for such a long time. It was a surprise for everyone and even more of a surprise that we could keep all the cars behind us while doing really competitive lap times.
"I actually pulled away from (Sebastian) Vettel at one stage in the race. I knew the car was fast, I felt good, I felt confident. On the supersofts, I had to give up a few positions, that was normal, that was our strategy because you had to be on them at least once. But I'm not disappointed at all, seventh place is a good way to start the season."
Di Resta sounds more positive for this week's race. The track, for one, doesn't worry him much.
"I think it is probably one of the most complete tracks of the season. It was the very first of the new generation tracks and it has nice flowing sections, some slow bits, as well as high-speed chicanes. I think it's one of the better tracks on the calendar. Along with the next one in Shanghai, it's one of the tracks I enjoy," Di Resta said.