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Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 20 June 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 13 September 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 13 September 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 13 September 2009

Unlike the most of his contemporaries, Sutil’s first love was not found on a race track but in a concert hall. The son of a celebrated musician, the young German seemed destined to follow in his Uruguayan father’s footsteps and become a concert pianist, until a chance discovery of karting at the age of 14 transformed his career aspirations for good.

After dominating various regional karting series, Sutil graduated to compete nationally, eventually taking third in the German championship aged 17. Although the highly-competitive European championship a year later proved a harder nut to crack, Sutil’s determination seemed to intensify. Cutting his losses, he boldly exited karting and moved into single-seaters for 2002, landing a race drive in the Swiss Formula Ford series.

In this case, fortune certainly favoured the brave and Sutil dominated proceedings, winning all ten Swiss events, while also taking five victories in the Austrian Formula Masters tournament. In 2003 he headed back home and competed in Germany’s Formula BMW series. Finishing sixth in the championship, Sutil failed to win a race but did take three podiums and as a result, earned a seat in the prestigious F3 Euroseries for the next season.

Racing for future Spyker team boss Colin Kolles’ team, it marked the start of a long and fruitful relationship for the pair. Even so, ambitious Sutil was brave enough to risk burning his bridges with Kolles by making a switch to the more competitive ASM team to partner fellow rookie Lewis Hamilton for the last two races of the season. The German held on to the seat for the following year, once again partnering Hamilton.

Though it was the British driver who would dominate in 2005, Sutil ended the year second best, with two wins to his name and a Formula One testing contract with Midland for 2006 in the bag, courtesy of his old friend - and now Midland team boss - Kolles. Over the year he enjoyed three impressive Friday practice outings for the team at the European, French and Japanese Grands Prix, finishing all but one session ahead of his Midland race colleagues.

Ever mindful to keep racing, however, Sutil refused to become blinded by his glamorous new Formula One opportunity and chose to compete in the 2006 Japanese F3 championship at the same time. It was a wise decision and resulted in a confidence-boosting first title, but it wasn’t long before he had even more reason to celebrate.

A surprise promotion to a 2007 race seat at Spyker - formerly Midland - was evidence indeed of the team’s belief in the young German’s talents. Just nine years into his career and with just five seasons of single-seater racing experience under his belt, Sutil’s dream of a Formula One drive had come true. Despite a less than competitive car, he justified the team's faith with some impressive performances, including P1 in a wet Monaco practice, and his first point with an eighth place in Japan.

Sutil was retained when Spyker were bought out by Force India for 2008. He held his own against veteran team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, but the car never had the pace to challenge for points. Monaco looked set to be the exception - Sutil was running fourth late in the race, only to be punted out by an errant Kimi Raikkonen.

He stayed on with the team for 2009, in the hope that Mercedes power and McLaren know-how would finally bring bigger and better results. Slowly but surely it did, though only on low-downforce circuits did the car really shine. Sutil was second on the grid at Monza, where he took his first Force India points with a fourth-place finish.

A third season with Force India in 2010 lifted him from 17th to 11th in the final standings after nine top-ten finishes. He improved further still in 2011 to ninth overall, but that didn’t stop him losing his seat to the team’s up-and-coming reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg for 2012.

After a season on the sidelines, however, (and with Hulkenberg having departed for Sauber) Sutil was back on the grid with the Silverstone-based squad in 2013, rekindling his partnership with 2011 team mate Paul di Resta. A superb fifth place in Monaco showed he had lost none of his speed, but the team's form dropped off in the second half of the season and with Force India opting for a new 2014 line-up, Sutil moved on to Sauber.