Interview with Force India's Adrian Sutil 14 Jul 2009
Adrian Sutil enjoyed a sensational weekend in Germany in the Force India, qualifying seventh and climbing to second during Sundays race before his first pit stop. Unfortunately a collision with Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen, as Sutil left the pits, forced the German to stop again for a new nose, and he eventually finished in 15th. Here he reviews his remarkable weekend at the Nurburgring and looks ahead to the forthcoming Hungarian event...
Q: You did a great job to qualify seventh. How did the session go for you?
Adrian Sutil: It was a great session for us. I was really happy at the end, for sure one of Formula One's happiest guys! It was my best-ever qualifying position in Formula One. It was very tricky with the weather but our decisions were very good and on time, although it was very difficult because we had to communicate quite a lot. We took a risk on the dry tyres in Q2 but we did it really well, and I managed to do a quick lap before the rain, which took me through to Q3. Then I was still able to fight for positions as it was not enough just being 10th in Q3. Even with the fuel on board Q3 went really well and we got into seventh.
Q: How did you feel when you found out that you qualified heavier than the two Ferraris behind you on the grid?
AS: It was really satisfying for everybody - when I saw their fuel loads, I was the heaviest car in top 10 qualifying. It was even like another pole position for us. It was surprising but we just did a really good job that day.
Q: How did things go at the start of the race?
AS: My start was okay. I was on the harder tyre and it was difficult to start on this option, because the grip level was not so high. We were also a little worried about the KERS cars in front and behind, but I managed to stay more or less in position. I tried to really keep on pushing for the first corner and defend my position, and not lose too much. It worked fine, I was in eighth by the end of the first lap. Then after three laps I could start to push and really have my balance back with the warm tyres.
Q: How was your first stint?
AS: It was not so bad, but I knew it was going to be hard to keep the Ferraris behind as they were on the soft tyres and had KERS off the start. But even given this it was a great start to the race as I was still with the cars in front but not close enough to lose any downforce. I was right behind Kimi for a long time in the first stint and at one point I was even up to second and not too far behind Barrichello, who was leading at that point.
Q: How did you feel coming into your first stop in second place?
AS: It was the best position I'd ever been in Formula One and it felt really good! It just gave me even more happiness and even more power in the car. I was so happy and enjoying it so much.
Q: When you came out of the pits you obviously saw Felipe Massa go past. Did you know Kimi was there too?
AS: I knew he was there as my engineer Brad had told me to watch the white line and that he was coming when I was on the way out of the pit lane. I entered the corner first. Kimi tried on the outside, which was okay. But there was plenty more space - he could have gone to the side, because I was on new tyres and it was really slippery. I couldn't have made any crazy moves, otherwise I would have lost my car. When you see my on-board I took the corner normally, I tried to push to be able to have a good exit, but I was quite limited when I was already on the inside for the braking for Turn One. If I didn't try to accelerate out of the corner it's not racing any more, I might well have just waved him by and said come on, pass me please! You have to defend your position.
Q: Have you spoken to Kimi?
AS: We spoke about it, and everybody agreed it's a racing incident. It's a shame as at the time I was just behind Massa, who went on to finish third. Obviously some drivers made good progress in the second half of the race, so I think seventh or eighth position would have been possible. I think points, definitely.
Q: You've had great races in the wet in the past, but do you think you've really proved something mixing it with those guys in the dry?
AS: I hope so. Everybody knows I've had some good races in the wet, but it was time to show it in the dry. You need a really good car, that's for sure and our car has made a good step forward, which helped me to show a good performance. I'm just happy for everybody. Right now we need a good push but the team knows we are going in the right direction and the guys in the wind tunnel are all working really well. I think we can expect quite a lot in the next few races.
Q: Any thoughts on Hungary - will it suit the car?
AS: Normally we don't have any particular circuit where we are good or bad. There are a few where we are maybe a little bit better, but we are quite consistent with our performance, which is why I think it might suit us. But it's similar to Monaco, and in Monaco, we had a good result, so who knows. I'd love to be able to finish the job there.