• Tonio Liuzzi's exclusive column

The Q2 issue

Tonio Liuzzi
July 12, 2010
Tonio Liuzzi drove from 20th to 11th during the British Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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Another tough race and another missed opportunity for me. Things went badly in qualifying and it was made several times worse by the penalty I was given for blocking Nico Hulkenberg. Personally, I don't think it was fair because the same thing happened to me many times during this season and no penalty was given. In normal circumstances, yes, I can understand why it was a penalty, but because I was screwed at the first four races, especially behind the Williams, I wasn't that happy about it.

But I must also say that it was partly due to a misunderstanding between me and the pit wall. I thought Hulkenberg wasn't on a flying lap and, by mistake, the team led me to believe the same. It's a shame, because if we hadn't got stuck behind the Lotuses at the start of the race we could have aimed for the points.

So from the start I had to find a way past both Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, and that was made more difficult because we had a bit of a problem with the fresh set of tyres I started on. We had massive amounts of understeer and that is something we need to get to the bottom of this week while I'm at the factory.

We don't know if it was because of the tyres themselves or something that got stuck between the calliper and the rim that was machining the rim. It would be strange if it was the latter because that is not usually a cause of understeer, that would usually just damage parts of the car, but we will analyse it. The understeer meant we were a long way off our full pace early in the race, but even so, once we passed the Lotuses we pulled away from them easily.

Fortunately when we pitted for hard tyres everything changed, we were in another world. We had a really competitive pace and we were really strong in the final laps. We were catching the group of Germans - Hulkenberg, Michael Schumacher and my team-mate Adrian Sutil - and we were faster than all of them. Knowing that makes it even more important to understand what happened with the soft tyres, because potentially we had a very fast car.

Tonio Liuzzi got stuck behind the Lotuses at the start and suffered with understeer © Sutton Images
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In the second half of the race I had a good battle with Fernando Alonso, who came up behind me after the safety car and had a better pace in his Ferrari. I could tell he was really pushing quite hard, and we were fighting for a position really close to the points so neither of us wanted to let the other one win.

He attempted to overtake many times but I didn't give him the chance to do it, until one time he tried even harder than usual into Brooklands and moved to go around the outside. He risked quite a lot under braking but I kept my line and he touched my front wing and got a rear puncture. There was nothing I could do, I was just defending my position and he took all the risk. But with Alonso you always know he will drive with respect and I think we drove safely and professionally.

But getting no points meant we left Silverstone a little bit frustrated. The confusing thing is that the car still has a lower straight-line speed than my team-mate and that cost me. In qualifying the gap wasn't too bad but in the race it was bigger and we have to work out why. We think it could be related to the switchable rear wing (or F-duct as everybody else calls it), but we still don't know the exact reason.

It's something we have to address because our rivals are getting stronger all the time. Our other weakness (although this applies both cars) is Q2, because every time we go from hard tyre to soft tyres in qualifying we suffer more than we should. On Saturday morning we were really confident after final practice, but when the track temperature went up a bit and we dropped off the pace.

It's true that Williams and Sauber are improving but our car does not suffer from a lack of pace, it's still very competitive and the updates we are bringing to every race are very good. But something is not right with our management of qualifying and that is ultimately costing us points on Sunday. So we need to understand that, and from there we can work to get both the cars in the top 10 and stay ahead of Williams. They are certainly becoming dangerous and we need to protect our sixth position in the championship.

The biggest story of the weekend was over in the Red Bull garages. Red Bull have got their own mentality for handling their team, they own the team entirely so they can do what they want with the drivers they have. In a way the drivers are employees, so they have to adjust to what the team says. Mark was pretty clear in the press conference that he wouldn't have gone ahead if he knew it was going to be like that, but in big teams there can always be these kinds of internal divisions.

Tonio Liuzzi is confident of a better second half to the season © Getty Images
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I think Mark is putting in a really strong performance this year and he deserved to get the result, it's just a shame there isn't a better feeling in the team. But I don't think it matters that much if Mark and Sebastian aren't best friends. I think in this sport you can have many friends but once you close the visor that friendship goes away. For Mark I don't think it was a matter of friendship, it was the team's decision.

Focusing back on my season, I'm still dedicated to getting the best results for Force India. Adrian had a really good start to the season, but I need my luck to turn around a little bit because I should have at least double the points I have. It's not a problem of pace or speed, it's more down to having a bit of luck and getting the results we deserve.

But I think we can be really strong in the second half of the season, especially at tracks like Monza and Spa, and I think I'm in good shape to be ahead of Adrian because we've shown that when the car is working things are different. But first we need to find out what the problem is with my car compared to his. Once we sort that out it won't be a question of pace or speed because we know we are there.

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