Force India’s Fisichella qualifies 17th for Malaysian F1 GP

March 22nd, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by admin  

By Anand Philar
Kuala Lumpur, March 22 (IANS) Giancarlo Fisichella of Force India qualified 17th in the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit here Saturday. Ferrari came up with a 1-2 finish as Felipe Massa grabbed his 10th pole position with 1:35.748 sec followed by world champion Kimi Raikkonen in 1:36.230.

The two McLarens of Heikki Kovalainen (1:36.613 sec) and Lewis Hamilton (1:36.709 sec) completed the front two rows.

Fisichella, a 35-year old Italian, was in fact running 10th with about six minutes left of first session of qualifying. But he steadily lost ground as six other drivers went quicker than him.

Worse still, with only a few seconds left, Rubens Barrichello of Honda pushed the Italian to 17th position to make it to the second round of the qualifying. Fisichella clocked one minute, 36.240 seconds as against Barrichello’s 1:36.198 sec.

The other Force India driver, Adrian Sutil, was way off the pace and qualified a poor 21st in 1:37.101 sec.

For all the pace that Fisichella showed in the free practice session when he was 14th quickest this morning and 9th Friday, he just could not deliver in the qualifying.

Fisichella was disappointed at the end.

“Just five hundredths away from Q2, it was very close! I am a little disappointed with not getting there, but I did my best and did a fantastic lap. Let’s say it’s very encouraging - just five hundredths from the top 16 and Q2, and just under a second from the quickest lap time of that session - it is very promising for the future,” he said.

“The team has done a fantastic job so far. Of course we have a lot of work to do but looking forward we are going in the right direction, which is just great.”

For Sutil, it was a losing battle trying to find the right balance.

“It was not a good qualifying, but to be honest I was expecting this as we had not had a great practice in the morning. We had problems again trying to get the soft tyres to work, my car is just not behaving how it should be with them and I even tried a hard set,” he said.

“The car felt much better but for sure, with them I can’t race the other cars. In the race and over longer runs I think we are better. In Melbourne, it was OK and I have a good feeling there is more in the car.”

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