A spectacular performance from Adrian Sutil in today's Monaco Grand Prix so nearly yielded the Force India Formula One Team's first-ever points in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Keeping his cool in the changeable wet-dry conditions put ...
A spectacular performance from Adrian Sutil in today's Monaco Grand Prix so nearly yielded the Force India Formula One Team's first-ever points in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Keeping his cool in the changeable wet-dry conditions put Adrian into an unprecedented fourth position in the closing stages of the race, but it was not to be as, following a restart after a safety car period - tragically on lap 67 of the 78 lap race - Adrian was hit from behind by Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn ran into the VJM01 that had kept him at bay for so long, puncturing the rear tyre and damaging the rear suspension. Adrian returned to the pits to retire from his finest race performance to date.
It was also a case of what might have been for team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella. Starting his 200th Grand Prix this weekend, Giancarlo also kept clear of the melee of crashes, traffic and safety car periods in front, but problems with his gearbox throughout the race led to his premature retirement on lap 36. The Italian had similarly been putting in some good laps, setting the eighth quickest lap time until his stop, but was obliged to retire when he could no longer select fourth gear.
With renewed confidence Force India will be back in action in the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks time.
'I can't believe it, it was so close. It feels like a pain in my heart. It is like a dream gone to a nightmare suddenly you are in the car and it looks all fantastic, then you have to accept it is not going to happen. We had a really good strategy and it seemed to work and we were so close to the podium and the points. It was after the restart after the final safety car that Kimi had a problem under braking and crashed into the back of my car. The race was over and it was a real shock. A few tears came out as the adrenaline was high I just can't explain it. All the same I am so pleased that we did show what we can finally do as a team.'
'At the beginning of the race I was just careful to be out of the trouble, but then I lost first and second gear and I was running third gear. Even with the conditions the lap times were competitive and then I lost fourth gear and the race was over. It's a real shame for the team, especially after Adrian's performance that we could not score our first points here.'
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer:
'I suppose sport has its highs and lows and unfortunately today Force India felt both of them. Giancarlo had a difficult day in his 200th race; soon into the race he lost first and second gear and, very impressively, drove for around 30 laps without them. He then lost fourth and we had no choice but to retire him. Adrian fast made up places in the race and with our one stop strategy we were able to keep him out and he could stop when it was dry. When the safety car came out we were comfortable and under control until Raikkonen lost it and went into the back of Adrian and broke his rear suspension. But that is life and I am sure that if we did it once, we can do it again.'
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director:
'It was the saddest moment of my Motor Sports career. To achieve a top five position in Formula One and that too in Monaco was a dream that ended just seven minutes and less than five laps from the chequered flag with Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari running into the rear of Sutil's car. Adrian Sutil drove a brilliant race, exhibited superlative car control in wet and slippery conditions and proved conclusively to the World that he is an exceptionally talented driver. All members of the Force India Formula One team came together and executed a brilliant race strategy and car set up. We have demonstrated that we are a much improved and competitive team now and we certainly had an opportunity to score championship points today. Giancarlo Fisichella has been troubled with gearbox problems all this weekend and lost three gears during the race despite which he was achieving quick lap times. We retired him from the race so as to avoid further damage. This performance in Monaco has given a huge boost to the confidence of the team and our drivers. Though we are sadly disappointed we will take away many positives and renew our determination to demonstrate further improvement over the rest of the season.'
-credit: force india