Force India’s point-scoring spree continued unabated as Adrian Sutil drove a flawless race, keeping 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton at bay, for a fifth place finish to earn 10 invaluable points from the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi, who scored points in both the previous races this season, was less fortunate as the Italian retired on lap 12 with a suspected throttle problem.
Indian Formula One driver Karun Chandhok finished the race 15th, ahead of Hispania teammate Bruno Senna.
After failing to score point in the first two races this year, Sutil started the race fourth on the grid and drove a faultless race to open his account.
Force India chairman Vijay Mallya said ideally both the cars should have scored points but he had no complaints.
“Three races and three times in the points, I am absolutely delighted,” Mallya said.
“Adrian had a strong race, keeping a cool head under pressure when a charging Lewis Hamilton was right on his tail.
Once again we’ve proved the pace of our car and our ability to really mix it in the midfield. It was disappointing not to have two cars in the points, but it is overall very positive that we can race hard and score points entirely on merit,” he added.
Sutil, on his part, said he was happy to stave off pal Hamilton’s challenge to finish fifth.
“The race was exciting and fifth place in the end was a great achievement.
“It was always very close with Lewis just behind in the closing stages but I knew that if I didn’t make any mistakes I wouldn’t have any problems, so it was just trying to concentrate,” he said.
“I had to push, of course, but it was under control. I think we can now carry this forward to China. We are still a good top 10 competitor and we need to continue like this — Q3 and a few points each race would be great at this stage in the season,” added the German.
Meanwhile, Karun was pleased having finished the second race on the trot.
“I am very, very happy to have finished my second race after our difficult debut in Bahrain,” Karun said.
“I kept out of trouble and pitted on lap 17. On lap 45, I had a tricky moment, passing Jarno Trulli’s Lotus. A great thanks to the team who did a fantastic job. To finish was very difficult today but I am happy to have done it,” said the Chennai lad.