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Sutil rues what might have been after Raikkonen shunt 25 May 2008

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 25 May 2008 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 with the media after the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 25 May 2008 Raikkonen loses control of his car and hits the back of Sutil

The Monaco Grand Prix is famous for springing surprise results and Sunday’s race promised to do just that for Force India driver Adrian Sutil. Having started down in 18th, Sutil managed to move through the field to fourth place thanks to a combination of skill and sheer good fortune, but a coming together with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in the race’s dying moments eventually robbed the young German of a dream result.

“I can't believe it, it was so close,” said Sutil. “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.”

The contact with Raikkonen punctured the VJM01’s rear tyre and damaged the rear suspension. Sutil was able to crawl back to the pits but once there was forced to retire. The stewards subsequently examined the incident, but decided no action was necessary. If Sutil had finished fourth, it would have been the team’s first-ever points, but chairman and co-owner Dr Vijay Mallya remained philosophical.

“He 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,” said Mallya. “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. 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.”

In the second Force India car, Giancarlo Fisichella's 200th Grand Prix ended in retirement on lap 37 following gearbox problems.