Not for the first time, Force India were on course for their first points finish until Adrian Sutil had a collision.
And also not for the first time, that collision was with Kimi Raikkonen. But unlike Monaco last year Raikkonen is not to blame – and happily the stewards have decided not to punish either driver.
Having qualified seventh Adrian Sutil was predictably swamped by the KERS cars at the start of the German Grand Prix. But thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s puncture, the Force India driver was at least able to run eighth in the opening stages.
With more fuel on board than anyone in the top ten after qualifying, Sutil was well-placed, and stayed within around three seconds of Kimi Raikkonen. As the cars in front of him peeled into the pits one by one he was lying second by lap 25.
He had been 1.4s behind Raikkonen before the Finn made his pit stop, but on his way to the pits Sutil lost 0.6s to his rivals. As he came out of the pits on lap 27, the F60 was right alongside.
The pair went into the first corner together and Sutil stuck to the racing line. Raikkonen on the outside was, if anything, fractionally ahead, and the pair made contact, stripping off part of Sutil’s front wing.
That forced him to make an immediate return to the pits, wrecking his race.
Had Sutil not tried to force the issue with Raikkonen, where would he have finished? He was probably on course to lose a position to Nico Rosberg, who pitted after him, and finished fourth. The two Brawns were on Rosberg’s tail at the end of the race.
At worst, therefore, it looks like seventh place or better was on the cars for Sutil. That would have been Force India’s first point and Sutil’s second points finish, adding to the point he scored at Fuji in 2007.
Was either driver to blame for the collision? To me it looked like a racing incident – neither driver really gave the other enough room. It’s possible Sutil wasn’t entirely aware of Raikkonen’s position relative to his, but it’s his team’s job to keep him informed of that kind of thing.
Unusually, I agree with the stewards on this one. After the race they declared:
The stewards received a report from the race director which stated that an incident involving car number four – Kimi Räikkönen – and car number 20 – Adrian Sutil – took place during the race.
The stewards after hearing the explanation of both the competitors representatives and the drivers decided that the incident requires no further action.
Do you agree with the decision?