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Force India disappoint in qualifying
June 21, 2008 22:04 IST
Last Updated: June 21, 2008 22:22 IST
Force India drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will start Sunday's French Grand Prix at the back of the grid after being eliminated in the first qualifying session in Magny-Cours.
Due to the 10-pace grid penalty on Williams' Nico Rosberg from the Canadian Grand Prix [Images], Fisichella and Sutil avoided a 19-20 start by finishing 18th and 19th respectively in the tight qualifying session.
With the entire field covered by just two seconds, Fisichella and Sutil were only one second from the top 10 in the first 20-minute segment. But their quickest laps could only see them finish 19th and 20th fastest of the session.
Sutil hoped that the team would fight its way up in the race with an aggressive strategy.
"The general balance of the car was OK and it was quite nice to drive particularly after the problems we had yesterday, but it's so close. We need to improve so that's why we're at the back of the grid for now," Sutil said.
"We know though that our race pace is good compared to others and we can stay with them so now we need to concentrate on getting to the end of the race and having a good finish, that's what is important," he added.
Fisichella blamed the poor qualifying on "understeer issues".
"It was a difficult qualifying session for us as the whole field is very close. We did three single lap runs, one on harder tyre and two on soft, to try and get the most out of the tyres, the car felt better balanced than this morning.
"We still have some understeer issues, particularly when it gets hotter as it did this afternoon. We will have to see for the race now as we know that we are more competitive under race conditions," he said.
Team's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, however, felt the qualifying session is not all disappointing as it was difficult to negotiate.
"I think we have to face facts that Formula One is incredibly competitive this year and to get through to Q2 here in Magny-Cours you had to be within a second of the quickest time," he said.
"We are pretty much where we expected to be this afternoon and both drivers got the most out of the car and the session. As we know, our race pace is usually very good compared to the group in front and we need to have a good reliable race and get two cars to the finish to see what places we can pick up," he added.
Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen [Images] took Ferrari's [Images] 200th pole position as he and team mate Felipe Massa [Images] dominated the qualifying. Raikkonen put in a lap of 1m 16.449s compared to Massa's time of 1m 16.490s to make it a one-two start for Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton [Images] was third but the 10-place grid penalty from Montreal means the Englishman will start 13th. Renault's Fernando Alonso [Images] (1m 16.840s) benefited from Hamilton's misfortune as he took the third spot with Toyota's Jarno Trulli (1m 16.920s) at fourth.
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