Romain Grosjean has apologised to his team after he went off into the gravel during a rain hit qualifying for the F1 2012 British Grand Prix.
Grosjean ironically had already posted a time good enough to put him in the shoot-out, but near the end of the re-started second session he spun off at Vale and beached his Lotus E20.
That meant he took no part in Q3 and while he qualified tenth, he will actually start in P9, as Nico Hulkenberg has a five-place penalty for a gearbox change.
“It's frustrating and I'm very sorry for the team as it looks like we had a strong car, but sometimes mistakes happen. My lap was not much different from the previous lap but it was different enough for me to go off and the car went backwards into the gravel and then it was stranded. It was very slippery,” he explained.
“We deserved better, but we will do our best tomorrow to gain positions to get some good points. It will be a long race and starting position doesn't mean as much if there are variable conditions. There's also a benefit from not making it into Q3 as I have a fresh set of intermediate tyres. Let's see what happens tomorrow.”
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen meanwhile had a better afternoon and despite KERS problems and despite starting Q3 on the wrong tyres, he did enough to claim a place on the third row.
“We made a slightly wrong decision by using the full wet and I only had one lap in the restarted final qualifying session with the intermediates, otherwise I think it was possible to have gone faster. We also had a problem with the KERS which we tried to fix during the red flag break. We're in sixth place though, which is certainly not a disaster; but it could have been better,” he added.
“The weather makes it a bit tricky for everybody. It's not easy, especially with the spray and this is even more difficult in race conditions when everyone is fighting for the same piece of track.
“On the plus side for the fans, it's good fun to watch, even if it's not the nicest weather if you're in a grandstand.”
“We're disappointed with qualifying in sixth and tenth today,” summarised Lotus director of trackside operations, Alan Permane. “Romain made a mistake after going fifth fastest in Q2 so was unable to demonstrate any of his pace in the top ten qualifying group.
“With Kimi it looks like we should have used intermediates sooner in the restarted session, but that is something which is easy to say with hindsight but difficult to judge at the time.”