Adrian Sutil drove a magnificent Monaco Grand Prix today, there can be little doubt about that. The Force India driver lined up at the back of the grid but somehow managed to threaten the top runners during the race. Sutil almost made it to the finish line before being taken out by reigning champion Kimi Raikkonen, the incident being little more than a simple racing accident. However, many people have said that Adrian’s sterling work today almost certainly cements his drive for next year. Is this really the case?
Before discussing Sutil though, it should be noted that Force India have taken issue with Raikkonen’s driving to the stewards, but quite what the team hope to achieve from this is not all that obvious. Mike Gascoyne was particularly upset, stating that had Sutil hit Raikkonen, they would have been in trouble. Personally, I don’t see how, and it sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me.
The frustration is that if that had been a Force India driver hitting a world champion we would expect to get a one or two race ban, but when it is the other way around it is disappointing that the stewards… well you know I hope they look at it and act accordingly. We have asked the stewards immediately to look at it because they should do.
That sort of driving, taking someone else out needlessly, as I said if that had been someone at the back, a young guy doing it, they would get a penalty. But it doesn’t seem to happen the other way around. Mike Gascoyne.
I don’t think Raikkonen did what he did on purpose. It is certainly disappointing, but it isn’t like the stewards can roll back the clock and change history. Or even remove Raikkonen’s points – he too lost out in the accident and failed to score. Hopefully Gascoyne will calm down this evening and focus on the team and the Canadian Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Anyway, on with Adrian Sutil…
So far in the 2008 season, Sutil has remained pretty much at the back of the pack alongside his team mate Giancarlo Fisichella. Since Super Aguri withdrew, the Silverstone-based team have actually been at the back. However, Force India are in Formula One for the longhaul and new owner Vijay Mallya has been injecting much needed funds into the team. Undoubtedly, their aim is slowly move forward and gain competitiveness as the next few years pass. Understandably, I can see where Fisichella fits into all this. But judging by Sutil’s first six races of the year, one has to wonder why many believe he is good enough for Formula One.
Australia and Malaysia were both retired from for Sutil, and he finished in ninteenth in Bahrain. Spain was Adrian’s third retirement and Turkey brought him sixteenth. Monaco would have been fourth or fifth, but alas, it goes down as a retirement in the record book. Team mate Giancarlo Fisichella hasn’t done much better, but it is better nonetheless. The Italian half of the duo generally qualifies better and has two twelfth-place finishes so far in 2008 as well as a tenth from the Spanish round.
It was disappointing to see Sutil retire from the race this afternoon, and no doubt this was the team’s best chance to score points this year. And with their nearest rivals Scuderia Toro Rosso scoring again, it is unlikely Force India will be able to beat their Italian pitlane neighbours by the end of the season. However, while Sutil drove very well today, the circumstances in which his ‘result’ occurred need to be taken into consideration. When looking at the whole season so far, one has to say that the German pianist is not performing all that well.
One swallow does not make a summer, but unfortunately the same commentator who compared Lewis Hamilton’s drive to the Monaco-master Ayrton Senna five times today, also believes that Sutil’s performance in the adverse conditions this afternoon is enough to warrant a drive for 2009. As I say, one swallow does not make a summer.