Sepang (Malaysia): None of the two Sahara Force India drivers could make the top-10 as Paul di Resta qualified 14th on the grid and Nico Hulkenberg 16th for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, on Saturday.
Resta`s best lap time of 1:37.877 and Hulkenberg`s 1:37.890, under hot weather conditions, could not get them into Q3, and scoring points would be difficult for the side.
McLaren had a one-two finish on the grid, led by Lewis Hamilton, who got pole position by clocking the fastest lap in 1m 36.219, followed by teammate Jenson Button (1:36.368).
Mercedes` Michael Schumacher was third (1:36.391) and behind him was Red Bull`s Mark Webber (1:36.461).
Comeback man Kimi Raikkonen (1:36.461) was fifth for Lotus, followed by Red Bull`s defending champion 1:36.634.
Force India drivers put up a brave face despite the fact that things have become difficult for them.
"We definitely improved the car between final practice and qualifying. My laps in Q2 were good and I got sectors one and two right, but I maybe have lost out in the final sector, which I never really maximised," Resta said.
"I think P14 is a reasonable place to start and hopefully our race pace and tyre management will pay off tomorrow. The other variable is the weather because there is always a high risk of showers late in the afternoon," the Scot added. Rookie Hulkenberg said he got what was best possible out of the car and that it will be a challenging day for him on Sunday.
"To be honest, though, I don`t think there was any more to come because I pretty much got the maximum from the car. Now it`s all about racing well and using the strategy to try and come away with a result.
"Having already missed most of the race last weekend in Melbourne, it almost feels like the first race of my season, so hopefully, I can go the distance and have a strong performance. Tyre degradation will be a key factor in the race and the chance of rain could also mix things up," the German said.