Lotus stand-in Jerome d'Ambrosio had 'mixed feelings' following qualifying today for the F1 2012 Italian Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old, who is standing in for regular driver Romain Grosjean, while the Frenchman serves his one-race ban, was 17th in final practice this morning and although he did make it through to Q2, and was 16th fastest, he was disappointed not to be closer to team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, especially in the first sector. In the end his best lap in Q2 was a 1 minute 25.408 seconds, which left him around six tenths off the sister car.
He will now line-up 15th on the grid tomorrow, as Williams driver Pastor Maldonado will slip back due to the two five-place grid penalties he picked up following last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
“I have mixed feelings really to be honest,” said d'Ambrosio. “I progressed through to Q2 but it's frustrating not to have done a bit better as I'm really close in the second and third sectors but I've been struggling a bit in the first since yesterday. About 60-70% of the difference to Kimi is lost there, so there's a lot of time to be found in just two corners. We need to work on that for tomorrow.
“There's a lot to take in for me this weekend so it's not too bad, but I would have liked a bit more.”
Lotus trackside operations director, Alan Permane meanwhile felt the Belgian had done pretty well.
“It's been a steep learning curve for Jerome, but he's done a good job. It's going to be a difficult race for him tomorrow with the low downforce specification on the car, especially pushing through the chicanes in this configuration. We hope that his progressive improvement over the weekend so far will continue through the race, as anything can happen tomorrow,” Permane added.
Meanwhile, Raikkonen, having just made it through to Q3, eventually qualified eighth overall in his Lotus E20. He will start seventh though, as Paul di Resta has a five-place penalty.
“We didn't have the speed today but at least we are in the top ten,” Raikkonen remarked. “We've been in more or less the same position all weekend so today's pace was not a big surprise.
“It's a long race and usually we are a bit stronger in the race. It is possible to overtake here so let's see what happens.”