|© James Moy Photography/Force India
Paul di Resta has brushed aside the view that the importance of qualifying in Formula 1 has dwindled, with the Scot stating that Force India aimed for as high a spot it could get.
Red Bull driver Mark Webber had said recently that Saturdays on the track today was unlike in the past when “qualifying was almost everything”, asserting the value of grid position had dropped significantly.
“I disagree,” di Resta told F1Pulse.com. “I think it’s very important.
“If you qualify, as we did in China, and you get stuck in traffic in the first part of the race, it can influence your tyre wear quite a lot,” he said referring to the 11th place on the starting grid in Shanghai last month.
“Being at the front is crucial. It made a difference to our race in Bahrain. We got a good end result from that,” he pointed out to his fourth place in the last outing. “But in China, we essentially got free in the first stint and made up a lot of ground on other cars.”
“We always go for the top qualifying position,” added the 27-year-old, who started from a career-best fifth place at the Bahrain Grand Prix this season.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley had told F1Pulse.com ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this season that “you should always try and qualify as high as you can” dismissing the idea that the team would prefer to remain in Q2 to gain a tyre and strategic advantage.
“The higher you can qualify the less you get involved in the after-effects of the start,” Fernley had said.
Di Resta also suggested that the Pirellis had spiced up the show from what used to be processional races, giving mid-field teams a chance to gain from strategy and score points.
“Sure, it’s not like how Formula 1 was five or six years ago where it was pretty boring wherever you qualified with the Bridgestone tyres,” di Resta continued. “You did one pit stop and finished the race essentially where you started.
“Now for the faster cars it’s a bit harder because people go for different things like less pit stops and mid-field teams explore better opportunities to score points,” he said.