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Paul Di Resta confident of strong qualifying in Hungary

Paul di Resta, Force IndiaPaul di Resta is confident that Force India can carry its strong practice form into qualifying after setting the ninth fastest time on Friday.

The Force India driver ended the day 1.8 seconds off pace-setter Lewis Hamilton's time, and was a tenth-and-a-half faster than team-mate Adrian Sutil.

Despite the team traditionally being stronger on low-downforce circuits, di Resta believes that the team's radical new aerodynamic package, which it raced for the first time in Monaco, now means that it is competitive even on tracks like the Hungaroring.

Its pace represents a significant turnaround for the Force India, which has never scored a point in Hungary. The Silverstone-based team last did so in its Jordan guise nine years ago, when Giancarlo Fisichella finished sixth.

"I'm optimistic that we should be able to maintain that form this weekend," said di Resta when asked by AUTOSPORT about his hopes of staying in the top 10.

"The car has given us confidence everywhere we go. Last year, we started very strongly and dropped down, but this year we started averagely and the raft of improvements have been incredible."

The Scot is determined to have a clean weekend that isn't interrupted by the kind of bad luck that has cost him potential points finishes in the last four races, and believes that Friday practice represented a good start.

He is confident that there is more to come from the Force India, raising hopes that it might be able to challenge Mercedes, which was best-of-the-rest behind McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull in free practice, in qualifying and the race.

"We got through all of our objectives today," said di Resta. "We did a normal Friday's running and got long runs on both compounds, which was important. We got some valuable data. There are certainly some places where we can improve."

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