A special helmet design for his home race has brought no good luck to Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, who was eliminated in the opening phase of qualifying after he lost all drive after a single attempt at a flying lap.
This result marks a rather spectacular fall from grace for Liuzzi – and the Force India team itself – this weekend, with neither driver making the top-ten a year after both Liuzzi and team-mate Adrian Sutil had managed to make the top-six of the grid, with Sutil lining up on the front row.
“We had a problem in the morning’s session where the car seemed to lose drive and did just a few laps,” a frustrated Liuzzi said after qualifying. “We did some analysis between the sessions and tried to solve the problem but then in qualifying a similar issue occurred.
“On the first lap we lost power and then we had to stop completely once I got it back to the garage so I couldn’t get a real flying lap in. It’s a shame but tomorrow’s the most important – we’ve got a good car here and you never know what can happen so we won’t give up until the end.”
By contrast, team-mate Sutil seemed relatively pleased with his 11th-placed starting position, and will be the first of the cars on the grid to have the advantage of choosing either available tyre compound with which to start the 53-lap race.
“The times have been so close today that we knew qualifying would be tight as well,” he said. “All the same we were very, very near to getting into Q3 – just a couple of hundredths of a second – so we can be happy with the performance.
“Starting P11 means we will get to start on a new set of tyres and the clean side of the grid, which can be an advantage. I think we’re still looking good for a points’ finish tomorrow.”
[Original images via Sutton Images]