Force India may have made great strides in recent rounds of the Formula One world championship, but no-one would have expected Vitantonio Liuzzi to jump straight into the car vacated by Belgian Grand Prix runner-up Giancarlo Fisichella and make it through to the final qualifying shoot-out.
That, however, is exactly what the former F3000 champion did, to the embarrassment of Fisichella, who managed only 14th place in the second Ferrari.
Liuzzi, racing the VJM02 for the first time with only a brief aero shakedown to get used to the car, will start his comeback race from an impressive seventh position, joining team-mate Adrian Sutil - who qualified second fastest - in giving Force India its first double representation in the top ten of an F1 grid.
The former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver didn't just scrape through the earlier rounds of qualifying either, progressing to Q2 thanks to the eighth quickest lap in the first phase, while his best lap in Q2, a 1min 23.207secs effort, was just shy of Sutil's fifth position.
"Two weeks ago, I didn't expect to be on the grid, so this is a fantastic result - better than we expected," the 28-year old exclaimed, "The team made a great effort and gave me a lot of support to reach this target. They never gave up and we had a great Friday and Saturday."
After doing little but occasional test runs and promotional appearances in the last year, however, Liuzzi admits that he expects the race to be harder than qualifying.
"The race will be difficult, physically and mentally, but I like the fight," he smiled, "The team are fighters and we will give the maximum in tomorrow's race. I'm definitely looking forward to racing in front of my home crowd."
I'm absolutely delighted with this weekend's performance," team boss Vijay Mallya commented, "We've been very strong all weekend and both drivers have been outstanding - Tonio has been a revelation on his debut. Although qualifying is just one part of the equation we are feeling quite upbeat about tomorrow's race now."