Force India secured their first double points finish in today’s Monaco Grand Prix – and also the best result for the team since their F1 debut in 2008.
Adrian Sutil finished in ninth, one place ahead of teammate Tonio Liuzzi. Sutil was understandably happy with the result after being hampered by traffic in qualifying yesterday. “It was a very good race for us here today,” said the German. “I was P12 on the grid but we had a really great start and I made up two positions on the first lap.
“We then had a good first stop where I gained a position to be P9 and then I could just do my own race. I had quite a lonely race with a big gap most of the time to the car in front and then the car behind so I was just pacing myself for a lot of the race.
“I had a very good balance at the end when the grip picked up so I am pretty happy with everything today: ninth position and a few points, we can be quite satisfied with this after the qualifying yesterday.”
Tonio Liuzzi actually qualified ahead of his teammate, and one position higher than he eventually finished. However, the Italian is just pleased for his team after securing the result. “It was quite a difficult race with a lot of incidents and safety car periods to deal with, but I like these type of conditions,” said Liuzzi. “We were P9 after the start but I think we stopped a couple of laps too early for our tyre change, which just allowed Adrian to pass us when he came in.
“As a team we can be very satisfied as we got both cars in the top ten and in the points, which is good for the overall morale of the team. We have really deserved this type of result but for various reasons this is the first time it’s happened.
“It’s really just the start – we have to try and carry this forward for the rest of the season. We are doing a good job back at the factory and from this point on the circuits should come towards us so we can be positive about the future.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya was very happy with the day’s efforts, and is hoping Force India can build on this result in the next race: “I am delighted with today’s results. At the start of the season we said we wanted to be regular points’ finishers and to date that’s exactly what we have done, but to do so with two cars is a real step up.
“Adrian and Tonio drove brilliant races, keeping focussed despite the numerous safety car periods and yellow flags, and really deserved to get in the points.
“It’s very pleasing to see us keeping pace yet again with the larger teams on merit and we can now take this result away with us, build on it and come back even stronger in Turkey.”
UPDATE: With the stewards punishing Michael Schumacher for overtaking under the safety car on the final lap, both Force India drivers were promoted one place, and actually take six points from the race, rather than three.