Adrian Sutil and Christijan Albers again demonstrated the increasing competitiveness of the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team in today's gruelling USA Grand Prix. In temperatures touching the high 30s, both drivers were able to fight with the midfield group during the 73-lap event to finish in 14th and 15th positions respectively.
Adrian had an excellent start to move up eight positions from the line. The German then demonstrated an impressive race pace before his first pit stop as he stayed with the Williams of Wurz and kept a chasing pack behind. He dropped back to the rear of the field following his second stop, but kept the gap to 13th place within two seconds to secure his first finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Starting from the back row of the grid, the team chose an aggressive one-stop strategy for Christijan. Despite a heavy fuel load, the Dutchman did keep pace with the group in front in the opening third of the race but later got caught in traffic. A brief stall in his pit stop lost further time, but Christijan had a relatively trouble-free race to finish a solid 15th.
Adrian Sutil: 'We had a solid base set-up and after a great start I could really fight with other cars. There seemed to have been a little step forwards since Canada, and it was a very good race for me. I am happy to have made it to the end, especially as it was a hard race with the high temperatures. It was tough to push and get as much as possible out of the car, but I'm pleased and now really looking forward to Magny-Cours.'
Christijan Albers: 'We were on a one stop strategy, but the beginning of the race was OK and I managed to keep up with the rest of the field. Then the first leading cars were coming through and starting to lap me and I lost a lot of time when they all made stops and lapped me again! It's a shame, but when you are in this kind of position you have to risk something and be aggressive with the strategy. The team was right to go for the one stop, if there had been a safety car or problems for the cars in front this could have made the difference.'
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer: 'A reasonable weekend and race for us. It's slightly disappointing not to have a better result as today we certainly had the pace to finish in front of some people. Adrian made a good start on a two stop strategy but unfortunately we lost too much time behind the Toro Rosso in the first stint. Although Adrian pushed hard in his middle stint, he just couldn't get enough to jump the cars in front that were on a one stop strategy. He was quicker at the end so it was disappointing not to have finished in front of more cars. Christijan was on a one stop strategy, which was compromised by a stall in his pit stop and lot of blue flags and it didn't really work for him, but overall it was a much better weekend for us; at least we were involved in the race with the group in front. We now have to make sure that we start finishing in front of some of those people, but well done to everyone in the team.'
Colin Kolles, team principal and managing director: 'I am very pleased that we have put the disappointing results of Monaco and Canada behind us now. Both Christijan and Adrian were able to race the group in front and, although it's ultimately a shame not to have finished in front of some people, we did get two cars to the finish and Adrian in particular showed impressive race pace. It's a good footing to go back to Europe now, first for the three-day test in Silverstone and then over to France.'
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