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GP Week : Issue 178
One month ago, Adrian Sutil’s F1 return was little more than rumour. Four weeks later and the German driver has had an emergency seat fitting, run three pre-season test days, and impressed all and sundry with a sterling performance at the Australian Grand Prix. While Sutil eventually crossed the line in P7, the Force India driver led the grand prix for two separate – and sizeable – stints, making the most of a topsy-turvy strategy to claim the lead on track while unsettling all of those rivals who thought the Silverstone team was not much of a force to be reckoned with. “Leading the grand prix was a great feeling, absolutely,” Force India’s returnee told the media after the Australian race. “First race three weeks after I knew I was back in Formula One, just had three test days in Barcelona – it couldn't be a better start, really. It showed that everything is possible and you just have to believe in it. “I knew it was probably a little advantage to start on the medium tyre compared to the other ones – they grained up the tyres in qualifying already – so I was expecting to go in front but of course leading the race I didn't expect, it's even better that it happened. “In the end the super soft was very difficult; two laps was okay and then they fell off by about five seconds where I lost my positions and then I thought ‘I’m never going to end this race on these tyres!’ But then it came back, and to a reasonable pace actually.” Deputy team principal Bob Fernley was impressed with his charge’s performance on Sunday. “Adrian’s return to racing has been fantastic and it’s clear he has lost none of his speed or racecraft,” Fernley said. “He was on a different strategy to most of the front-runners, but made it work beautifully and showed strong pace throughout the grand prix – even leading for eleven laps.” While Sutil’s front-running performance in what is generally seen as a mid-field car was impressive on its own merits, Sunday’s drive was all the more poignant Sutil smashes it on F1 return F1 >>> AUSTRALIA 21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: