Barcelona: Either of the Force India drivers failed to make Q3 for the first time this Formula One season after Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez set the 11th and 12th fastest times respectively in the Spanish Grand Prix qualifying here on Saturday.
The Circuit de Catalunya is not among the stronger tracks for Force India and their performance today was on expected lines.
Hulkenberg, who is a creditable fourth in the drivers` standings after four rounds, missed the top-10 shootout by being a tenth of a second slower than Ferrari`s Fernando Alonso in Q2.
The German said he was pleased with his effort.
"My lap was very good and I am pleased with the effort we put in during qualifying. We made some steps forward with handling and set-up compared to FP3 this morning, but we still ended up a little bit short of Q3," said Hulkenberg.
"Considering that we haven`t been totally comfortable with the car for most of the weekend, P11 is a very good place to start the race and gives us an extra set of medium tyres compared to the rest of the top ten. I expect a very strategic race tomorrow, especially as most of the teams around us seem to be on a similar level when it comes to race pace," he added.
Perez, who was three tenths slower than Hulkenberg, said he could not give his best in Q2 due to traffic.
"Maybe a place in Q3 was possible, but I did not manage to complete my final run in Q2 because my preparation lap was not ideal. There was too much traffic and my tyres were not optimised, which is why I chose to abort my final quick lap and save the tyres," the Mexican, who picked up a surprise podium in Bahrain, said.
"Coming here we knew this track would be quite a difficult one for us, but we still believe we can be competitive tomorrow. I think the race will be all about getting the strategy choice right because it`s so difficult to overtake on this track," he said.
Force India are third in the team standings with 54 points, ahead of Ferrari and McLaren.