Vitantonio Liuzzi will start the British Grand Prix from the outside of row ten after being hit with a penalty for blocking Williams' rival Nico Hulkenberg in the second phase of qualifying at Silverstone.
The Force India driver had again reported a lack of top speed during day two of the event, and was caught on camera holding Hulkenberg up as both chased a spot in the top ten shoot-out for pole position. Liuzzi's fate was sealed, however, when he chopped across the bows of the young German rookie as Hulkenberg looked to pass and gain the advantage of a clear track.
"We need to work to understand why we were not so fast this session, as we believed a Q3 position was possible with both cars based on the performance in practice," Liuzzi opined, having enjoyed a stronger FP3 performance, "In Q1, it went okay and the balance in both the high and slow speed corners was quite good. Unfortunately, I only got one flying lap on my first run and, then, on the second, I couldn't improve. I think P12 or higher was there, but it can happen. We'll now start 20th because of the penalty.
"We thought that we had to keep Nico behind and I didn't realise he was on a hot lap. From 20th, it's not going to be easy, but there are overtaking spots here at least - plus the incentive of racing in front of our home crowd"
Liuzzi's penalty promotes Renault's Vitaly Petrov, Toro Rosso team mates Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, Lotus's Heikki Kovalainen and Virgin's Timo Glock, while Hulkenberg lines up 13th, sharing row seven with reigning world champion Jenson Button.
Force India came closest of all to getting a car into the top ten, with Adrian Sutil only being bumped from the shoot-out at the last moment. Having eased into Q2 on the basis of the fourth fastest lap in the opening phase of qualifying, the German struggled to find the necessary grip on Bridgestone's softer tyre compound and missed the cut by a couple of tenths.
"We have had a good car the whole weekend, but we struggled a bit with the tyre today, so the result is a little bit disappointing," Sutil confirmed, "In Q1, I could set a good time on the hard tyre, and it looked really good for a Q3 slot but, in Q2, I just couldn't get a good lap and couldn't go any quicker. We need to investigate why we couldn't go faster on the softer tyre, but it's not the end of the world and P11 is a good position to start. The top ten is, of course, the goal for the weekend, so it's important to finish the race, then anything is possible."