For the second time this season, Vitantonio Liuzzi has endured the ignominious honour of being eliminated in the opening phase of qualifying.
This will do his long-term employment ambitions with Force India no end of harm as the team’s test driver Paul di Resta is continually touted by the parochial British press to replace the Italian driver.
A last-corner error on his final flying lap was enough to see the former F3000 champion and Red Bull protégé knocked out of the first phase of qualifying for the second time this season – the first time being in China.
Despite being the sole driver in the team to run with its first iteration of the ‘F-duct’ concept, Liuzzi admitted that he “didn’t get the most from qualifying”.
"We have been struggling with the grip since the start of the weekend and had a pretty similar issue to Barcelona,” he said. “We don’t seem to have the right balance or get the tyres to work, particularly at the rear of the car.
"We are trying a couple of things and once it is sorted we will be competitive for sure, so it’s not worth dwelling on today. The new switchable rear wing has been a big step forward so we can be pretty confident about the race. So although it’s disappointing for now, tomorrow we should be able to move up the field and do as much as we can," he concluded.
One hopes he has a better result in the race – one gets the feeling that team boss Dr Vijay Mallya isn’t going to tolerate this sort of performance for too long!
[Original image via GP Update]