Adrian Sutil finished 11th for Force India in China after an eventful afternoon that saw him make a bold tyre call and fight with some of the biggest names on the grid. In this interview Adrian talks about that race and the next one in Barcelona.
You made a quick decision to stop for tyres on the first lap, which seemed to pay off at first. What was your thinking? "On the first lap on the dry tyres behind the safety car I was sure that the rain would pick up, and that’s why I changed to intermediates. I thought it was the right decision, and it looked like it was. But then it stopped raining again, and it was just too dry. They grained up and we had to pit again. I was just hoping for more rain, but it wasn’t coming!"
So you knew that you had to come in again? "Yes, we changed back to the slick tyres. We chose the soft one, because normally in those conditions the hard one is not working at all. But even that was probably not the best decision because my left front grained up so much that I had to pit another time. Luckily it was raining then, and I went on to intermediates."
How did things go after that? "That was pretty OK, but it also degraded quite quickly. It was just a bit up and down with the positions, with some quite good fights there. There was a small problem with the rear left at the pitstop, and I lost four seconds and positions to Massa and Barrichello. I had to fight to get back past Rubens, which worked out, but still I just missed the points."
Was this the first time you’ve really raced wheel-to-wheel with Michael Schumacher? "I had some good fights with him! He was once in front of me, and then behind me. It was up and down. In Malaysia he was behind me after the start, but in terms of really racing, that was a first time for me. It was nice, but it’s no different to any other driver – on the circuit it doesn’t make any difference."
You’ve had some great races in the wet, so was it frustrating that this one didn’t work out? "That was a strategy race. If you see that people were doing four or five pit stops, it was just doing the right thing at the right time, and also a little bit of luck. Some people just tried something and it worked out. I’m not really disappointed, I did everything on the limit. From my point of view, I got the maximum out of the car, and the team did their best. In the end it’s an 11th position."
You have qualified in the top 10 every time this year. Are you frustrated not to have scored more points? "Probably Melbourne was a big chance. Bahrain, I’m not sure, I started 10th and maybe I could have finished eighth. But it didn’t happen. The only big chance we missed I think was Melbourne."
Everyone will have new parts for the next race in Spain. What are your thoughts on that? "We’ve got a few bits, but the car will be very good there I think, and the top 10 will be very similar to what we’ve seen in the last few races. Nobody will be finding half a second in their car, because right now it’s really hard to improve the cars. Everybody is at a point where it’s hard to find every single tenth."
What do you need from the car at Barcelona? "There you just need downforce, so I think it’s a Red Bull circuit again. You gave a long straight, but if you have a quick car through the corners, it’s definitely a better way."Interview courtesy of the Force India F1 team.