Suzuka, Oct 12 (IANS) Force India can hope for points at the Japanese Grand Prix after Paul di Resta missed the Q3 by a whisker and qualified 12th at the Suzuka Circuit here Saturday.
Mark Webber, in his farewell F1 season, beat Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying for the first time in 2013 on way to his maiden pole of the year.
Vettel encountered a KERS failure at the start of Q3 before the issue was sorted. The German could still not beat Webber's time of 1:30.915, settling for the second spot with 1:31.089 after starting on pole in the last four races.
Lewis Hamilton was third in the Mercedes on 1:31.253.
Down the order, it looked a time of 1:31.992 will send di Resta into the final session until McLaren' Sergio Perez came up with a 1:31.989. Both Perez and di Resta were bumped out of Q3 when Felipe Massa did a 1:31.378 in his flying lap which put him fifth on the grid ahead of Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso.
"I think we should be pretty happy with P12. Slowly but surely we've made the car more drivable and in qualifying it felt quite good," said di Resta.
"The overnight efforts of everyone at the track and back at the factory have helped dial the car into the circuit. Compared with yesterday the car feels much more stable and predictable, and that's allowed us to get within a tenth of making Q3. I'm feeling upbeat about the race because the long runs have looked consistent and we are well placed to fight for points with a free choice on tyre strategy," said the Scot, who retired thrice in the last four rounds and has not finished in points since the British Grand Prix.
Adrian Sutil in the other Force India was eliminated in Q1 with the 17th fastest time. He will start the Sunday's race from the back of the grid after incurring a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change following his crash in practice three.
Force India have scored only three points in the last six races and are sixth in the team standings on 62 points. McLaren are fifth on 81 points.