Melbourne, March 15th, 2013 (F1plus/J. Polychronis).- Adrian Sutil is confident of Force India’s qualifying prospects, after a full day of practice at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday.
In both FP1 and FP2, Force India proved to be the best of the usual mid-table suspects. Sutil, who placed 8th in the first session and 9th in the second, lead the likes of Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso. While this may have been expected, it was the out-performing of both the McLaren cars,which has been most notable. This is something that has sparked confidence within Sutil, as he eyes a place in Q3.
“I think we can make it into Q3 definitely. Our focus is to the front, and after that day I think we confirmed we are strong and competitive. Everything is possible, tomorrow there is rain expected.”
The main story to develop from Force India though, is arguably the impressive return to competition for Sutil. After spending a season out of favour to Nico Hulkenberg, Sutil has returned to the seat at the ripe age of 30. Many questioned his ability to remain competitive in the sport considering his one-year hiatus. Regardless, Sutil comfortably out-drove team mate, Paul Di Resta, by 0.5 seconds in FP1, and by 0.9seconds in FP2.
Sutil explained to the media at the day’s conclusion, that a year out the competition was beneficial, rather than detrimental.
“I think in 2011 I needed a break. I was strong in the end but maybe I could have been even stronger. – Being away for one year, for me, I think it was good. It’s always hard for a race driver to be away the first time but you can just de-stress a little bit. It’s a stressful job.
If you have this time [away from the sport], you have to use it. – I’m quite relaxed and feeling very different in the car now, but in a positive way.”
It would be hard to disagree with the German after he resumed his F1career on Friday, seemingly without any real difficulty. Action on Saturdaycommences at 14.00 local time, as teams spend an hour acquiring data on their vehicles in qualifying trim. The battle for qualifying commences at 17.00 where Force India is poised to appear in the top 10 shoot out.