Adrian Sutil admitted he was expecting a stronger performance from his Force India team following its outstanding showings in the last two races.
Sutil, who started from the front row at Monza two weeks ago, had to settle for 16th position today, as his car showed it's still lacking downforce. From that position, the German is expecting a tough race tomorrow.
"As we can see, we are still very quick on the straights and on the high-speed circuits such as Spa and Monza, but here it is all about downforce," said Sutil. "It's a very similar configuration to Monte Carlo, but about twice as long with twice as many corners and that's why we lost so much over one lap. We have had a problem with the grip level the whole weekend.
"I did expect us to be a little bit more competitive, but the field is very tight and if you lose out a bit in the traffic suddenly you are at the back. I lost some time on my fastest lap when Giancarlo [Fisichella] was in front of me in the middle sector and I finished 16th. It's going to be difficult but let's see what we can do. It's a long race and anything is possible and we will still be giving it our best."
Teammate Tonio Liuzzi, who qualified last, also conceded he did not expect Force India to struggle so much.
"We knew we would struggle more on this type of circuit compared to the low downforce tracks such as Spa and Monza but we didn't expect it would be this much," Liuzzi said. "We were suffering with a lack of traction and weren't able to find the right balance - Adrian and I seem to have the same problems.
"My quickest lap was quite clean, perhaps there were a couple of tenths more in it, but to get through to Q2 this time would have been quite difficult. With more fuel on board we are quite competitive but from this point on the grid it will be tough. However at a circuit like this anything can happen and if we have a good pace in the race and a good balance we could still get some points. Street circuits are always a bit crazy, so we won't give up just yet."