Bad day for Force India at qualifying
Hockenheim: Force India faces a tough task to get points from Sunday`s German Grand Prix as Adrian Sutil will start from 19th and Vitantonio Liuizzi from 22nd on the grid after a disastrous qualifying here on Saturday.
Problems started during the last practice session when Sutil`s VJM03 encountered some technical problems and he could race just two laps without setting any time.
Sutil, who will be racing for the first time at home in F1, made it to the Q2 but a penalty cost him five places. He was handed the penalty for changing the gear box between FP3 and qualifying.
Italian Liuizzi could not progress beyond Q1 due to an accident and settled for 22nd position after just three laps.
He completed three laps in Q1 but when exiting the final corner he ran wide onto the kerbs and hit a damp patch remaining from the earlier rain. The loss of grip sent him into a spin and unfortunately he speared across the track and into the pit wall, damaging the front of his VJM03.
Sutil eased into Q2 with the 12th quickest time of the 20 minute opener. Despite improving on his time, he could not progress through to Q3.
"Not really such a great day for us. The weekend started so well and in the rain the car was so strong, but it`s not gone right today. This morning I had a problem with the driveshaft and missed the whole session. We also had to change the gearbox as a result of the problem so we knew that we would be facing a tough challenge with the five place penalty we would get," Sutil said.
"Then in qualifying I didn`t have any grip and the car was sliding around and we were only quick enough for 14th place. All the same it`s only qualifying and there`s a long race tomorrow where anything can happen.With a good strategy we can always go for a good result," he said.
Liuzzi was disappointed with the happenings today.
"I had had a good couple of laps but then I hit a wet patch on the kerb or on the grass that wasn`t visible from the track and it then started the accident. I lost the rear and was pushed out quite strongly across the track and into the wall. I wasn`t hurt, but it`s such a shame as we lost the qualifying and now have to start far down the grid.
"We can still make up some places as we showed in the last race in Silverstone where I came back to 11th and under a second from the points, so the race pace is very strong - let`s see what we can do," he said.
Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer said, "Obviously we`re disappointed with the session today. We were hoping for more in qualifying but had technical problems with driveshaft failure on Adrian`s car in FP3, which compromised his performance in qualifying. Tonio had an accident at the last corner, which eliminated him in Q1. But there`s no points for qualifying. Our long run pace this weekend on both cars has been strong and both Adrian and Tonio are real fighters who will keep pushing until the flag."