Budapest: Force India's Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta could only manage the 11th and 18th fastest times in the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying here on Saturday.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton edged championship leader Sebastian Vettel for pole position, clocking 1:19.388 to German's 1:19.426 in a Red Bull. Romain Grosjean was third in his Lotus with 1:19.595. (Read full report)
It was a forgettable session for Force India. Di Resta struggled with the balance of his car and was eliminated in Q1 for the third time this season.
Sutil came up with an impressive 1:20.569 in Q2 and looked set to make Q3 until he was pipped by McLaren's Sergio Perez, who produced 1:20.545.
He said it was tricky initially and he was happy with his performance. "The first part of qualifying was quite tricky and it was difficult to deliver the pace we expected. I had a good feeling with the car, but we were not especially quick and I was only P15 by the end of Q1," Sutil said.
"I did not really know where we were losing out, but the team made some adjustments and that improved things for Q2. My lap times were much better and for a while it looked like I was going to make the top ten, but then I got pushed down to P11 at the last moment.
"I'm happy with my lap and that was the limit for me today. P11 is a good place to start because it leaves us with more of a choice about the tyre strategy. The goal tomorrow is to push forward and try to score some points," he added. The German will be competing in his 100th race on Sunday.
His team-mate Di Resta vows to come back strongly on Sunday. "A tough session and I am a bit confused as to why we struggled so much on the soft tyre. Throughout all the sessions we've looked more competitive on the softs, but in Q1 they just didn't switch on," he said.
"We've given ourselves a lot of work to do tomorrow, but we will go away and come back refreshed and ready to fight. We need to move forward so we will think hard tonight about the strategy, but at least we have plenty of new tyres available. I think the main puzzle we need to solve is what happened to our performance today so that we can bounce back tomorrow."