The Force India team will be relying on some bold strategic calls in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix after enduring another tough qualifying session.
The Silverstone team has seen a significant loss in one-lap pace since the mid-season break – its sole Q3 effort has been Sergio Pérez’s tenth grid place at Monza – and the worrying trend continued with neither Pérez (15th) nor Nico Hülkenberg (13th) able to make it beyond the second mini-session.
“The track felt very different today and we were not expecting such a dramatic change coming into qualifying. As the session went on, we struggled to get the tyres to work in the way we wanted,” an unhappy Sergio Pérez said after qualifying.
“We headed out early in Q2 to try and get a clean out lap and prepare the tyres, but obviously we knew this would give away something in terms of performance with the track evolution. Even with these choices, we weren’t able to make the progress we wanted.
“Looking at the race we know that overtaking on this circuit is quite difficult, but with a good start and a strong strategy we can make up some places. This track is very harsh in terms of tyre degradation and I expect it to play a big part tomorrow. It will be a battle to get some good points, but on a track like this everything is possible.”
Teammate Hülkenberg was seemingly happier. Despite recording his three worst qualifying performances of the season on the trot, the German was confident that a bold strategy could propel him into the points as the team continues its close scrap with McLaren for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
“The qualifying hour in Singapore is always intense and stressful, but I was hoping to be a bit more competitive and squeeze into the top ten. As it turned out, a place in Q3 was a few tenths away, but my lap was pretty good,” the German added.
“I feel quite positive about the race because I have a free choice on tyres for the start and Singapore is always a long and eventful race. There are a few strategy options because yesterday we saw a lot of tyre degradation on both the compounds. The target is to come away with points tomorrow.”
Image via XPB Images