Force India underlined its growing stature again with Adrian Sutil holding his own in a dramatic wet qualifying session to bag the third place on the starting grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.
His teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi had graduated through to the second qualifying session (Q2) but aquaplaned and speared off into the barriers into turn one.
The Italian, who had actually qualified 15th, was taken to the medical center for precautionary checks but was uninjured in the accident. His VJM02 sustained significant damage in the impact and will require a new gearbox, effectively dropping him five places on to 20th in the starting grid.
The dramatic Q3 ended with Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello’s 1m 19.576s beating Mark Webber’s 1m 19.668s and Sutil’s 1m 19.912s.
Force India chairman Vijay Mallya said Sutil had once again proved the team’s enhanced status, while Liuzzi was unfortunate to catch the puddle.
“Liuzzi was unlucky to have aquaplane on main straight but Sutil’s third place proves we are a front-running team now,” Mallya told PTI.
The dramatic qualifying session featured several stoppages and delays because of rain but Sutil proved his dexterity in such condition and would start the race from the second row.
“Being in the top three is always a great feeling, particularly after such a difficult session,” Sutil said.