Adrian Sutil believes that Force India were ‘unlucky’ to miss out on scoring points at the Japanese Grand Prix today after he finished the race eleventh, one place ahead of team-mate Paul di Resta.
“To be honest I feel we were unlucky to miss out on points today,” said the German. “My initial start was excellent, although I had to lift because Kobayashi had a very poor start and so I didn't get the full benefit. But after the first few laps I was ahead of the Renaults and we had good pace.
“I think what really hurt my race was the safety car because I made my second stop the lap before it came out and lost track position. In terms of strategy we had to go for three stops because the degradation was so high. For a while it looked like ninth was possible, but in the end we lost out to the cars making two stops who had the benefit of soft tyres at the end of the race.”
Di Resta also made a good start to the grand prix, and also blames the timing of the safety car for the fact that he scored no points. “I made an awesome start to the race, going to the outside and jumping up four places – ahead of both the Renaults and Kobayashi,” he said. “I settled into a good rhythm but the safety car spoilt our strategy because that was our fastest part of the race and it was important to try and pull a gap. It helped the cars making two stops because they caught us in the final laps and it was very hard to defend.
“Going into the final four races we know it's going to be a close battle with the teams around us. Sauber seemed to be quite competitive here and Renault look to be back on form, but we will try and fight back in Korea.”
Deputy team principal Robert Fernley agrees with his drivers analysis of the race, and thinks that Force India should be able to bounce back next weekend in Korea.
“We went into today's race believing we could fight for points, but ultimately the circumstances of the race just denied us in the final stages,” he said. “In terms of strategy we definitely had our bases covered and the excellent starts for both cars played into our hands nicely. We knew we were on the limit with tyre wear, but we were showing good race pace and pulling a gap to the cars running on the medium tyres at the start of the race.
“Our undoing proved to be the safety car, which negated all our advantage and brought the two-stopping cars right into contention. We tried to hold on for some points, but it was impossible to defend against cars running soft tyres in the final laps. So we leave Suzuka a little disappointed, but we will focus on the positives and look to realise our potential in Korea.”