It was a repeat of last year’s Monaco Grand Prix for Adrian Sutil as he came within a few laps of scoring Force India’s first ever point.
But this time instead of being shunted out of the race by Kimi Raikkonen, Sutil was the cause of his own undoing – crashing out heavily at turn five.
As the race started behind the safety car Sutil made an early pit stop to switch from a short first stint to a long one.
It worked well, and he gradually rose up the running order. He made it up to seventh behind the two McLarens, which became sixth on lap 49 when Lewis Hamilton spun.
But the combination of an increasingly worn track and wet tyres did for him on the next lap. Much as Nelson Piquet Jnr had done a few laps later, Sutil lost the car at the turn five kink – but unlike Piquet he made it as far as the barrier, tearing the nose and one wheel of the VJM02.
Force India have now gone 21 races without scoring a point. If you’d asked Vijay Mallya at the start of the year if he’d like to be tied with Ferrari in the constructors’ championship after three rounds I’m sure he’d have said yes – but this probably isn’t what he had in mind.
Sutil gave them their best result to date at Australia – ninth after Lewis Hamilton’s exclusion.