Force India left on the back foot at Marina Bay

Force India failed to deliver its usual top-10 performance in qualifying yesterday, leaving itself facing a big challenge in today’s race around Marina Bay.

On a track where grid position is very important, both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon will be at a disadvantage at the outset when they start respectively from P12 and P14.

The Mexican struggled with rear grip in Saturday evening’s session and was left with more questions than answers about his car’s under-performance.

“It was a difficult qualifying session,” he admitted.

“All the way up to my final run in Q2 I was struggling with the front end of the car. We made some changes which helped the front, but I lost rear grip instead.

“I’m not really sure what went wrong so we need to look into the data to really understand why we didn’t deliver tonight.

“It’s going to be a long and tough race tomorrow, and we need to be patient. We are only a couple of positions away from the top ten so we will fight for as many points as possible.”

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Force India’s resident pink panther, Esteban Ocon, was equally disappointed with his qualifying result although the French driver, who celebrates his 21st birthday today, believes the race pace of his VJM-10, coupled with some smart strategy, keeps his chances for points intact.

“It’s been a disappointing day for the team – the first bad qualifying session in quite a long time, actually,” said Ocon.

“It’s not something we want to see, obviously, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. I felt comfortable with the car until qualifying, but the track evolution went away from us.

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“I struggled under braking and it was very easy for me to lock the fronts. We now need to focus on trying to recover in the race.

“Points are still very much possible, even starting in P14, so we will just go for it. There has been a 100% record of Safety Cars here over the years so there may be opportunities.

“Our car is better in the race than in qualifying and it’s my birthday tomorrow so I really want to get a good result for me and the team.”

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