So near yet so far, was the message from Force India, as they reflected on what might have been in today’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Adrian Sutil was running as high as 7th until he crashed out of contention with only six laps to go. Whereas his team mate Giancarlo Fisichella completed a dismal weekend with graining issues wearing his tyres throughout the race.
Adrian Sutil – DNF: “I had prepared myself for a hard race and that’s exactly what it was. We took a risk with the strategy with a very early stop and it was a long way to go with one set of tyres. Then it started to rain again and it was very hard to keep the car on the circuit.
“Sometimes even in a straight line in fourth or fifth gear I was struggling with aquaplaning and I was very lucky to keep the car on the circuit for so long. It’s a shame – you focus so much and think you can do it, but the car was just out of control at the end. I had the same feeling as Monaco – it’s hard to believe when you are in the car and then suddenly you lose it and it’s all over from such a great position.
“But you have to get over it, we had a great performance today. It’s good for the team and I think we deserved the points, I just feel bad for everyone here. It was a very good strategy call, but that’s what we had to do: take a risk.”
Giancarlo Fisichella – 14th: “It was a difficult race. The rain was really hard at the beginning, but my main problem was the graining on the tyres. With both sets we had a lot of wear and the car was sliding on four wheels through some corners.
“It was very hard just to keep the car on the ground and many times I had a huge moment. The strategy was good though and I think we can be pleased with the performance today. It’s a disappointment that Adrian came so close to scoring the team’s first points today, but we all know how hard it was out there.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal: “What a phenomenal race and yet what heartbreak. We can all be very proud of Adrian and the team’s achievements today. He has proved yet again that he has a genuine flair in the wet and came desperately close to scoring those elusive points once more.
“We made all the right calls in the race and functioned very well as a team: it was just such a shame we couldn’t translate it to the points at the end of the race. Although we know we have much work remaining, both Adrian and Giancarlo’s performances give us a shot in the arm and shows that, if and when, the conditions allow we can be right up there. I must also extend my warm congratulations to Red Bull for a well-deserved first win.”