Montreal: Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez qualified 11th and 13rd, respectively, for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix at the 4.3 km Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve here.
Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg (first) and Lewis Hamilton (second) locked out the front row with defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel locking out third for Sunday's race.
Germany's Hulkenberg just missed out on Q3 when he clocked one minute and 16.300 seconds during Q2 in his VJM07-04 Saturday.
"I was close to making the top-10, just half a tenth would have made the difference but we’ve known it was going to be quite tight in qualifying. Having said that, 11th is a good starting position. It gives us some flexibility in terms of strategy -- I get to choose my starting tyres," said Hulkenberg.
"I’m feeling quite optimistic about our race pace. The pack is very close in terms of performance but it should be an interesting race because it’s a circuit where overtaking is possible and history has shown that anything can happen here,” added the German, who is fifth in the drivers' standings with 47 points.
Mexican teammate Perez said qualifying was tricky, coming 0.172 seconds behind Hulkenberg.
“It was quite a tricky qualifying session that turned out to be a bit harder than we expected. I’m starting 13th but still feeling very positive about our chances. This is such an unusual track where you can move up the field and take advantage of whatever happens in the race. We have good top speed which will certainly be important," said Perez, who is 10th in the standings with 20 points.
"We have shown already this year that Sunday is what counts and I’m confident that we can score points and beat some of the cars ahead of us. We will need to get the strategy right. It's always a choice between one and two stops here and we'll need to evaluate which one gives us the best chance for the race.”
The Vijay Mallya-owned team is fourth in the constructors' standings with 67 points.