By Sam Moffat
Adrian Sutil was heartbroken not to have finished the Monaco Grand Prix while Force India team principal Vijay Mallya admitted that seeing his driver crash out was “the saddest moment” in his motor racing career.
The German youngster was hit from behind by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen nine laps from the end of the race while gunning for a podium in fourth. The collision damaged the rear of the car and he was unable to continue; while Raikkonen, ironically, was sent out with a new nose cone.
The 25-year-old was quite clearly distraught as he got out of the car: “A few tears came out as the adrenaline was high – I just can’t explain it,” said the Force India driver.
“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.”
Sutil started nineteenth on the grid, but by lap 17 he was already into sixth position and exchanging fastest laps with the front runners. The German’s pace was even better considering how heavy he was, going to lap 53 before pitting for slicks.
The second safety car looked like it could spoil his race, and the gap he had over Raikkonen was promptly washed away. Sutil made a good restart and looked to be on par, if not pulling away from the World Champion until he was hit from behind at the swimming pool, when The Finn was unable to control his Ferrari and took the Force India driver out of the race.
When The German got out of the car you the emotion and heartbreak was plain for all to see as he cried with the mechanics at the back of the garage.
“I suppose sport has its highs and lows and unfortunately today Force India felt both of them”, reflected Force India’s Technical Director Mike Gascoyne after the race.
Fisichella’s 200th Grand Prix was not as impressive or as eventful as his team-mate’s, as he retired on lap 36 when he lost three gears. The Italian had lost first and second gear early on. However he was still lapping with the mid-field and was able to progress through the field, albeit not to the extent of his less experienced team-mate. Fisichella was up into fifteenth until he retired when he lost fourth gear.
“It’s a real shame for the team, especially after Adrian’s performance that we could not score our first points here,” commented the experienced Italian following the team’s double retirement.
Despite two non-finishes this weekend, the future is looking good for Force India as they are closing the gap to the midfield. Sutil showed that he is a hot prospect and like last year, he can compete with the front-runners when the rain comes out.
“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,” concluded Vijay Mallya.