Team boss Vijay Mallya has apologised to Paul di Resta after the Sahara Force India
man was knocked out of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix
at the first hurdle.
The Scot, who has scored points in every race bar one so far this season, was a surprise casualty of the first part of the session after a mix-up on the pitwall meant he wasn't able to pit in time for a fresh set of intermediate tyres before the end of Q1.
It meant he qualified down in 17th spot and di Resta admitted it was frustrating that he would be starting so far back given the pace in his car.
“We failed to deliver today, which is a real shame because we were very strong in the wet and this is the most crucial qualifying session of the year,” he said. “The intermediate tyres were working fine for me, but we didn't read the conditions well enough from the pit wall.
“I needed a set of fresh intermediates towards the end of the session, but by the time we realised it was too late and there was no time to pit. The only option was to stay out, but my tyres were finished and I didn't have a chance to progress any further. It's a painful position to be starting from tomorrow given the speed we had in the car today.”
Team-mate Adrian Sutil
bounced back from his accident in morning practice to qualify eighth and set his sights on challenging for the podium, but Mallya said there was disappointment that both drivers weren't starting from higher up the order.
“After Adrian's crash this morning the mechanics did a magnificent job to repair the car for the start of Q1 – and Adrian made the most of it,” he said. “In the tricky damp conditions he delivered when it mattered to qualify eighth. As for Paul, I would like to apologise to him because we did not get the tyre strategy right during Q1. He was incredibly quick on the intermediate tyres, but we missed the chance to pit him for a fresh set towards the end of the session. As a result he lines up in P17. For the race we know that anything can happen in Monaco so we will think hard about the strategy to try and secure a good result for both cars.”