After the near-win in Belgium by Force Indiaâ€™s Giancarlo Fisichella, there are very few amongst us who would have counted the team out for the Italian Grand Prix tomorrow. The low-drag, high-speed circuit of Monza seems to favor the Force India car and this is fine by the fans of the small team.
Adrian Sutil could have been expected to place well in qualifying as he has been with the team long enough to be at ease with the car irrespective of if it is good or bad. His 2nd place qualifying result is not a surprise given the teams pace in Belgium which is similar in its low-drag, high-speed characteristics. Sutil said:
“It is a great moment, a great deal,” said Sutil. “The whole weekend was a big success already. We did good work, and the car is amazing, really quick.
“It’s unbelievable, it is so good for the team especially after the Spa success.
“We continued it here and just being competitive, it is such a different feeling in the car right now. You know you have a chance.
“It’s a good feeling like the racing driver is back in me. I enjoyed every single moment.”
What may be a little more of a surprise is the performance of Vitantonio Liuzzi who is replacing the recently exiting Giancarlo Fisichella who left for greener pastures at Ferrari as a substitute for the injured Felipe Massa.
Liuzzi has not raced in F! for over a year and a half. No testing since last winter and faced the same challenges as Luca Badoer did when he attempted to stand in for Massa at Ferrari. The performance from Liuzzi is a testament to the performance of the car but ultimately this is a man who has not driven in anger for some time and he placed 7th on the grid for tomorrowâ€™s race which is impressive to say the least. Liuzzi said:
“I cannot complain at all, we’re in seventh place for tomorrow and I’m really optimistic because our weight is quite interesting, looking at the others’ speeds.
“We have a chance to make a good race, which I wasn’t expecting because I wasn’t ready – I hadn’t raced for a year and a half. That’s a long time to wait.”
“I was a bit scared to make a little mistake and not put the lap together, but the car was well-balancedâ€.
â€œThere was a little bit of understeer in the final stint, and perhaps without that it would have been possible to challenge the Brawns.â€
“We have to see about the weather tomorrow because it is getting cloudy now â€“ we have to hope that it doesn’t rain. I’m optimistic that we can fight for points, the more the better.”
To be in 7th in his first race in well over a year at his home race must be a real thrill for the Italian and here is hoping he can turn lead into gold with some much needed points for the team.