Di Resta thrilled with third-row slot

Autosport

Paul di Resta said he was thrilled and relieved to qualify sixth for the Singapore Grand Prix after fearing he had lost his Friday pace during final practice.

Force India had been quick throughout the Singapore weekend but di Resta was extremely unhappy with the car's handling on Saturday afternoon.

"Alarm bells were ringing a little this morning in FP3 because we had quite a good car yesterday, but then struggled quite badly in that session," said di Resta.

"In all three runs I was the best part of a second off Nico [Hulkenberg], so it was clear something wasn't right, and we hadn't changed things much.

"So we went back to a baseline for qualifying and that dramatically improved things and put us a step in front again.

"Yesterday we were close, and in qualifying we were able to regain our confidence, work away and improve each time we were on track.

"I saved the best lap to the end, which was good, and I always found little bits as the track improved."

Di Resta thinks he will be able to hold position in the race, despite the row-five starting Mercedes choosing not to run in Q3 to get a tyre strategy advantage for Sunday.

"We have been stronger than the Mercedes this weekend in general," said di Resta. "Whether that will carry on is another thing, but they chose not to run [in Q3]. I think we have a good enough car to be able to stay in front of them."

The Force India drivers had been well-matched on Friday but Hulkenberg only qualified 12th - leaving him unhappy with the team's strategy.

"The first run in Q2 was pretty compromised," said Hulkenberg.

"We went out a bit late and then all the guys who were already on hot-laps, I had to let past, so the tyre temperatures and pressures dropped enormously.

"Starting the lap, I couldn't really get a feel for the car or where the grip level was, which then affected the start of the second lap. You don't have a reference, you don't know where the grip's going to be.

"So the first sector was not good enough, and the rest of the lap was not good enough either.

"It's a shame because we had a Q3 car today, for sure, and that's why I'm not happy at all."

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