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Q&A with Adrian Sutil

NEWS STORY
19/09/2007

Adrian Sutil put in an excellent performance at Spa, climbing up to 12th in the opening stint and mixing it with drivers who would not normally expect to see an orange car in their mirrors. Adrian started from 19th and got up to 15th on the first lap.

After that he picked up more positions as the team's strategy of making two stops and starting with the softer tyre paid dividends. By lap five he got up to 12th when he passed the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, which was actually carrying less fuel than Adrian was. At that stage he had three former Grand Prix winners in his wake – Trulli, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello – and was chasing yet another in David Coulthard. His fun ended when he pitted on lap 16. Some cars later got back past as the strategy unfolded, and he eventually finished 14th. We asked him about his superb afternoon.

You had a fantastic race in Spa. How much did you enjoy it?
Adrian Sutil: 'Yes, it was a very good race. The best race so far for sure! It's nice to see that the B-spec car is working better, and we can have some success now. The whole race we were on it, we were fighting.'

You tried two stops in Monza and it didn't really work out, but this time you really had a chance to race…
AS: 'Yes, we did a two-stop, and I was surprised that so many cars did a one-stop. I think two stops was better for us, and for sure it gave us a chance at the beginning to make a lot of positions. I didn't expect to pass so many cars – I was in 12th position and doing really competitive lap times. But that's how it was. I think in general the race was a big step forward.'

Obviously your strategy meant you were lighter than other cars. How much did that help?
AS: 'Yeah, I think people thought we were really light, but we were normal, we came into the pits later than some other cars. It was our performance that took us to the front. In the last race we were hoping for rain conditions or a safety car, but this time we really had a chance without hoping for something to happen.'

Can you actually feel now that the B-spec car is better?
AS: 'In qualifying especially it was better, we were much quicker on the straights, that's where we gained the most time. Also in the race we were sometimes doing the same speeds as the Ferraris and McLarens on the straights. But now we need much more downforce, and that's where we have to find the time.'

At one stage you were mixing it with drivers who have won Grands Prix. How did that feel?
AS: 'For sure, I was fighting with many experienced drivers, and it was really nice to be there and have a chance. All the season I've had boring races, I was always driving alone and finishing second last or last!'

How did you manage to get past Jarno Trulli?
AS: 'I was right behind Trulli, and someone else was in front of him. They were fighting, and Jarno a little lock-up in the first corner, so I could catch him before Eau Rouge. I knew I had to pass him at the end of the straight, so I lifted before Eau Rouge, made my gap, and then I took him after Eau Rouge on the long straight. He had no chance to pass me back, and it was a very helpful move for our strategy.'

It looked like you tried the same thing on David Coulthard…
AS: 'Yes, he was very quick on the straight, he maybe had a similar downforce level to us, so he was not that quick in the middle sector, but very strong on the straights. I was close to him, it was just a question of a few metres more and I could have passed him as well. But it was a nice sight, nearly every lap I was catching him and catching him, and we went side by side. It was nice to do it, really.'

Was it the right choice to start on the softer tyre?
AS: 'We had to start with the soft tyres to have a good start with more grip. We normally have problems to get the tyres up to temperature, especially with the hard ones. On the formation lap it cools down so quickly and so much, so we couldn't run a hard set at the beginning.'

What was the last stint like on the hard tyre?
AS: 'It changed the balance a little bit, but the lap time was nearly the same. It was always quite difficult to drive, the grip level was low, and the fuel effect at Spa is very big, and the tyre degradation as well. So you lose grip in general. Balance-wise, it was nearly the same.'

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