Sutil: It is like a dream gone to a nightmare

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.

Vettel: I m hoping for Rain…. Lots of Rain!

By Sam Moffat

Scuderia Toro Rosso once again failed to get their drivers into Q2 despite introducing the new STR3 in Monaco. Such was the performance of the new car around the tortuous streets of Monte Carlo that Sebastian Vettel reckons his only hope for a decent result is if it rains.

The best the German could manage was eighteenth place around the Principality and his gearbox penalty will relegate him even further back.

“I was unable to maintain a good level of grip over the whole track, so I was losing time, especially towards the end of the lap,” reflected the German.

“It s a shame, because with my penalty I will be at the back of the grid. So I m hoping for rain…..lots of rain!”

Vettel s team-mate Sebastien Bourdais could not manage much better having qualified sixteenth with a lap 1.16.806 around the demanding street circuit. Both drivers did very little dry running in the morning sessions, so they were stepping into the unknown for qualifying.

“Our situation was not helped by the fact we still lack experience with the new car and had nearly no dry running this morning,” commented Bourdais.

“I am finding it very difficult to read what the car is doing, especially under braking when I am locking wheels a lot,” the 28-year-old added.

Torro Rosso arrived in Monaco with only two points to there name; Bourdais collecting points at the season curtain-raiser in Melbourne despite failing to finish with an engine problem.

However the Faenza-based outfit seems to have come to halt with both drivers failing to finish four out of five races. Toro Rosso needed to bring out the new car for more reliability rather than anything else.

The Italian team will be hoping that their new car will find speed within the next few races, and with some much need reliability, they will be looking to push up into the midfield.

Giorgio Ascanelli, Torro Rosso test driver spoke about the car s performance at the end of qualifying today, “I am pleased that we experienced no problems with either car and managed to shake down two new rear ends. The performance though is not quite there and it looks as though there are some difficulties in putting together the necessary lap time.”

With both drivers failing to progress to Q2, Toro Rosso will need to make rapid improvements to get back to where they were in 2007 when they were consistently making it past the first knock-out session.