Much was made of Force India's potential ahead of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, but the Silverstone-based team misfired in qualifying, with neither Adrian Sutil or Tonio Liuzzi making the pole position shoot-out.
Sutil will start only eleventh at Monza, despite pre-race speculation suggesting that he, in particular, could challenge the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari for the top five. However, in one of the tightest qualifying sessions so far this year, the German eased into Q2, but missed out on a Q3 slot for the second consecutive race by just a couple of hundredths of a second. That means that he will line up on the clean side of the grid, alongside countryman Michael Schumacher, and remains confident that points are a possibility.
"The times have been so close today that we knew qualifying would be tight as well," Sutil sighed, "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.
Team-mate Liuzzi endured an even more frustrating qualifying, completing just three laps in Q1 when his VJM03 lost drive on his out-lap. Unfortunately, the problem proved too difficult to rectify within the qualifying session and Liuzzi was forced to end his session early, without setting a competitive lap time. He will start 20th, but should be able to make up positions given the pace demonstrated on longer runs yesterday.
"We had a problem in the morning session, where the car seemed to lose drive and did just a few laps," the Italian confirmed, "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 day - we've got a good car here and you never know what can happen, so we won't give up until the end."