The Force India F1 Team will start tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix from eighth position with Adrian Sutil - his sixth Q3 entrance this year. Adrian negotiated the thrilling rain-punctuated qualifying session to secure his first top ten start since the Canadian Grand Prix. Tonio Liuzzi will start from P12.
The pitlane bristled nervously as all 24 cars took to the track early in Q1 to make the most of the conditions before a predicted rain shower. When it materialised half way through the session it lasted just a few minutes, giving a couple of minutes of drier running at the end. After a nail-biting lap both Adrian and Tonio passed into Q2 with the 12th and 15th quickest times.
Q2 remained dry and both drivers opted for the soft tyres for both runs. Adrian crossed the line with the fifth quickest time and Tonio the 14th, however he will start from 12th following penalties handed to both Mercedes drivers.
Having used two sets of option tyres in Q2, Adrian could only make one run in Q3 and timed his lap to coincide with the very last seconds of dry running before another rain shower arrived. He got in one lap, the eighth quickest of the session, and will line up alongside the Williams of Barrichello for tomorrow's 44 lap Belgian Grand Prix.
Adrian Sutil (car 14): "Getting into the top ten was my aim today so I'm really happy. It was a tough qualifying of course with the showers and we had to be quick in taking decisions on the pitwall and on the circuit we had to react quite quickly as you never knew what was going to happen. I was lucky to go through in Q1 as I did my quickest lap on the intermediate tyres and the track was drying. Then second qualifying went well and in Q3 I was quite happy with the one lap I did. We only had one set of option tyres left for Q3 and I just missed out on a second lap as at the end of the first lap it had started to rain. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow, I think there will be a lot of overtaking maneouvres, particularly up the hill and into Eau Rouge after the start, and you can really attack throughout the race."
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15): "It wasn't such an enjoyable qualifying as everything was very confusing and stressful with the rain in Q1. But overall we made an improvement to our car as we have had some problems with top speed from Friday practice until Q1. The car has a good balance into the corners and the blown diffuser is working well but although we improved in qualifying, it didn't feel 100%. In FP3 this morning we also ran just four laps, also with a different wing setting, so we went into qualifying a bit blind. But we can be pretty happy, the forecast is changing every 10 minutes for the race tomorrow so we'll keep on top of it and from P12 on the grid we've still got a good chance of scoring some points."
Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer: "We're obviously very pleased to be back in the top ten again after a couple of difficult races, and to get two cars starting in the top 12 is our best qualifying session since Canada. It wasn't an easy session to call with the rain coming and going but we made the most of the conditions to give ourselves a good shot of a points finish, which is of course the ultimate aim. We know our race pace is strong, but as usual here in Spa you also have to be spot-on with the tyre calls if the weather is changeable. We look forward to a competitive race tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
FP3: 8th 1:47.064 (15 laps)
Q1: 12th 1:58.730 (7 laps)
Q2: 5th 1:47.292 (8 laps)
Q3: 8th 1:46.659 (3 laps)
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01):
FP3: 18th 1:48.692 (8 laps)
Q1: 15th 2:01.102 (7 laps)
Q2: 14th 1:48.680 (7 laps)