Monza, Italy, Sep 16 (UNI) After qualifying an encouraging 12th at the Italian Grand Prix, Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella lamented that he could have broken into the top 10 if car problems had not forced him to retire.
''It was a good qualifying session,' said Fisichella. 'I was just two hundredths slower than Massa, and I could have been in the top 10. Obviously the weather conditions were better for us.'' ''It was good. I was heavier than them with the fuel, and I was keeping a good pace,'' he added.
Giancarlo was greatly looking forward to his home race at Monza, and when the weather forecast promised rain, he knew that he could be in for a good weekend. Things started promisingly on Friday morning when he was third in a damp session in which team mate Adrian Sutil set the quickest time.
He was 13th in the dry on Friday afternoon, and then 10th in the final wet practice session on Saturday morning.
That boded well for wet qualifying, and in the first Q1 session Giancarlo made the top 15 for the first time in 13th place, just ahead of former World Champion Fernando Alonso.
Thus for the first time this season the team took part in Q2.
This time he moved up a spot to 12th, which of course became his final grid position. It was a good result for the team, but there was also a little frustration as just 0.02s would have put him ahead of title chasers Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa, and landed a place in Q3.
It rained again on Sunday, and with a heavy fuel load and a long first stint planned, Giancarlo was hopeful of a good race.
He gained a place when Sebastien Bourdais failed to leave the grid, and thus ran 11th in the early laps. But it was always going to be hard to hold on to that, especially as he had some big names behind.
Eventually Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton both got past, although Fisi didn't make it too easy for them.
Unfortunately things went wrong on lap 12. At the start of it David Coulthard found a way past under braking for the first chicane, but the Scot didn't have momentum coming out of the corner, and Giancarlo tapped his rear wheel.
''David overtook me in Turn One. He braked quite late, and in the middle of the corner he almost stopped the car, and I couldn't stop. I touched the back of his car and I broke the front wing,'' Fisichella stated.
It was obvious that he'd have to come into the pits, but then the front wing came adrift leaving the Italian with no grip and no steering at the high speed Parabolica corner. He slid straight over the gravel trap, and into the tyres.
''On the back straight it fell down to the ground. I was talking to the engineers and telling them I was coming in, and just at that time it fell off! I had no control of the car, so it was very difficult,'' he recalled. ''It would have been pretty good. It's a bit frustrating, especially as it was my home Grand Prix, but that's racing.'' Fisi is now looking forward to the street race in Singapore.
Always good at Monaco, where precision pays dividends, he is hoping for another positive weekend,''It's going to be something different, so I'm looking forward to it.'' UNI XC AB RKM HS1813