|© Force India
Paul di Resta’s promising qualifying position was watered down as he was handed a five-place grid penalty for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Force India driver set the fourth fastest time but will start Sunday’s race at Monza from ninth place after he started the day with an unscheduled gearbox change.
Regulations state that gearboxes should last at least five races before it’s allowed to be replaced with a new one.
However, the Scot was ready for the challenge to make sure to take advantage of the race pace and strategy to come away with points.
“The car has been working well all weekend so I knew we were in good shape going into qualifying,” di Resta said. “We were in the top five of free practice and the car has got better and better with each run as the track evolved. I’m very happy with my Q3 lap, which was my quickest lap so far – so we maximised it when it mattered.
“I knew I was going to have a grid penalty for the gearbox change, which is frustrating, but at least I will start inside the top ten,” he added.
Teammate Nico Hulkenberg though had it much worse as he failed to set a time and made his exit in the first leg of qualifying as he “suddenly lost drive” in his first timed lap.
As a result the German driver will start from 24th and last.
“It’s a shame this happened on a day when the car looks so competitive, but that’s racing,” Hulkenberg said. “Starting so far back tomorrow will be tough, but I will try and push through so that we can hopefully come away with something from the race.”