Adrian Sutil produced another impressive qualifying performance for Force India to secure a second top-three starting position of the season for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The German driver, who started on the front row of the grid at Monza, is widely regarded as one of the strongest wet weather performers and was forced to use all his talents in a difficult session, which ran for nearly three hours due to heavy rain.
Sutil had been one of the drivers hoping for wet weather to improve his chances following Friday practice and he admitted he was delighted to post the third quickest time as his wishes for rain more than came true.
“Being in the top three is always a great feeling, particularly after such a difficult session,” he said, “On the Friday it didn't look so good in the dry so I was really hoping for rain and in the end we got too much! We had to wait so long during the session and keep focused.
“Q1 was definitely extreme wets as there was so much water that you had to be careful not to spin. Then there was so much waiting until Q2. I did my fastest time in that session on the extremes but you could really only get one good lap out of them so it was a clear sign we needed to go onto the intermediates in Q3. We left it a bit until we went out and I crossed the line with just seconds to spare to start my fastest lap, which was good enough for third.
“I'm really happy, it's feels good to be back here at the front. I like this circuit although it hasn't been the greatest for us for results in previous years. I'm hoping for a good race tomorrow - I'm just going to give it my best.”
Team-mate Tonio Liuzzi had gone into the session also hoping to break into the top ten, but his session came to a dramatic end in Q2 when he aquaplaned into the pit wall and then into the barriers at turn one, severely damaging his car in the process.
While Liuzzi was uninjured in the incident, he will be forced to take a gearbox change on his car and will drop to the back of the field as a result.
“I am really disappointed and frustrated that the qualifying ended in the way it did as I was pretty convinced I could have got into Q3 and done well - as Adrian has shown today we were very much on it,” he said. “The car reacted well in the wet conditions and we showed a good performance in Q1, even if we were in traffic and couldn't do the best lap time.
“At the start of Q2 it was very difficult conditions and it was risky to go out but once there is a green light you have to try and go out and do your best. I am sorry for the team as we could have achieved more but I was a passenger at that stage and couldn't do anything when the car caught that puddle. All the same I think we are in good shape tomorrow and if the conditions stay like this we have a well balanced car so I am optimistic for the race.”