The Force India F1 Team's Adrian Sutil will start tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix from fourth on the grid following a faultless drive and a well-played strategy in qualifying at the Sepang International Circuit. Tonio Liuzzi completed the team's strongest qualifying performance this
season by passing through to Q3 for the first time this year. The Italian will start tenth.
The team and drivers interpreted the ever-changing weather conditions perfectly, with both drivers going out for early runs in Q1 on the intermediate tyres, so when the rain worsened both were easily through to Q2, with Adrian P8 and Tonio P10. As the rain increased a mid-break switch to extreme wets beckoned but when the track dried out both returned for intermediates: again, a canny decision that allowed Adrian to set the third quickest time and Tonio the eighth.
Heavier rain fell in Q3, causing a red flag with seven minutes remaining. On the restart, Adrian and Tonio were the first cars out on extreme wets and were for a time the quickest cars out on track. As the conditions bettered the pair were just edged down the order with Adrian claiming fourth position and Tonio tenth, the team's best combined starting position since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.
It was a great qualifying again for us. As I expected it rained at 4pm, I said that yesterday I think! It was challenging and the conditions changed a lot over the sessions. Sometimes it was a lot of rain, sometimes half wet, half dry so it was very important to choose the right tyres. I think we did a great job in those conditions and every session we did the optimum. I am so happy to be in this position now. It's a great achievement and my team really deserved it. They did a fantastic job: being there on the right time on the right tyre was very important. My time in the end was good for P4: a great job all round.
We can be happy about getting through to Q3 as this was our target for this weekend. It was a good qualifying, Q3 started very wet, very similar to Brazil last year, and then it dried up very quickly at the end. I had a problem on the last lap with a locking front brake and lost the last run but that's how it is in these conditions: you have to get the right spot at the right time. Tomorrow will be a tough race from where we are. We have a lot of quick cars around us but as we've seen today we are strong in all conditions. I'm looking forward to it.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal:
Today was a really brilliant team performance, not just from the drivers but from the pit wall and the garage. The interpretation of the data and weather forecast, the implementation in the garage and the calls from the drivers all came together beautifully to give our best qualifying performance this season. It sets us up well for the race, but as we know tomorrow's result is all that counts. We've got to keep this spirit up, keep our heads down and go for the maximum we can. I don't want to tempt fate with predictions, but I would hope we could convert this into a serious points haul.