Malaysian GP: Force India race report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03): 17th: 55:58.426 (+1 lap) Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01): 18th: 53:16.065 (+ 1 lap) 5 April 2009 - Torrential rain, biblical lightening storms, a curtailed race and the first half-points finish since...

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
17th: 55:58.426 (+1 lap)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
18th: 53:16.065 (+ 1 lap)

5 April 2009 - Torrential rain, biblical lightening storms, a curtailed race and the first half-points finish since the Australian Grand Prix 1991 will be the footnotes for today's Malaysian Grand Prix. Due to a monsoon-like downpour the race was suspended on lap 31 and then ultimately brought to a premature end just before 19:00hrs due to fading light conditions. Force India's Adrian Sutil was classified 17th at the finish and Giancarlo Fisichella 18th, however the latter had unfortunately slid wide on the drenched track just one lap before the race was halted.

The race had started under ominously cloudy skies, but conditions were dry until 30 minutes into the event. Banking that the typical heavy rain would be imminent, both Giancarlo and Adrian pitted for extreme wet tyres. The downpour did not materialise however for a further 30 minutes, and when Giancarlo was just returning to the pits to change for another set of wets he aquaplaned off the circuit. Adrian did however change tyres but was in the pits when the race was suspended.

The team will now return to its UK base for a brief halt before resuming its 2009 campaign in China in two weeks.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'When the rain started it was very difficult and just about impossible to drive. We were in second or first gear at 20kph and even then we were sliding around the circuit. It was unbelievable, so it was a good decision to stop the race. It was a bit of a shame that it couldn't be restarted as I think we would have had a good chance in the wet conditions. In the end though it was too dark to restart. Looking forward to Shanghai, I want to get another weekend with no problems: let's improve our pace and look for some downforce, and carry our momentum forward.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'Unfortunately we made a wrong call to change to extreme wets very early on. We came in too early and I did three or four laps under dry conditions so we destroyed the tyre. Then it was raining and the grip was getting better and better but there was just so much water and the tyres were almost slicks so I could not control the car, it was just aquaplaning. It was not a good race for us, unfortunately we had a wrong strategy but we will see for the next race.'

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
'Today in Malaysia we had almost unprecedented conditions and we took a risk with the strategy. Unfortunately the rain we expected - which you can normally bank on coming - didn't come soon enough and Giancarlo was unfortunate enough to be returning to the pits for a new set of extreme tyres when the rain hit hardest. As a team we will learn from this as we move forward to China and Bahrain. We're growing in confidence and potential all the time so we just need a good race to demonstrate it.'

-credit: force india

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Adrian Sutil
Teams Force India