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Force India return empty-handed from Japanese GP

October 04, 2009 15:34 IST

The 14th lap brush with Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren compromised Adrian Sutil's race and the double finish was hardly a solace as Force India completed its Japanese Grand Prix campaign without a single point.

Considering Sutil's familiarity with the layout and its low-to-medium downforce suiting the car, it was a blown opportunity for Sutil who finished 13th, just ahead of team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi, who managed to improve on his unflattering 19th position on the starting grid.

Sebastian Vettel drove a copybook race at Suzuka to win the Japanese Grand Prix and stay afloat in the 2009 championship chase. Jarno Trulli was second for Toyota, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton following him at third.

Starting eight on the grid after copping a five-place penalty for Saturday's chaotic qualifying, Sutil took on a speeding Kovalainen coming into the chicane on lap 14.

The McLaren driver, however, did not oblige and sent Sutil's VJM2 into a spin.

Sutil slipped back to 12th after the collision and he subsequently could not recover the lost ground.

Team chairman Vijay Mallya did not hide his disappointment at missing points. "We had expected a better result from this race given Adrian's excellent performance in qualifying fourth on Saturday.

The penalty cost us dear as Adrian was behind the heavier Nico Rosberg and then dropped behind Kovalainen early on," Mallya said.

"He nevertheless demonstrated that the car is performing very well in race conditions and we are able to race competitively with the top teams.

Tonio too had a strong race to secure his second finish in three events. Hopefully next time we can get the results to prove it," added Mallya.

Sutil was equally dejected after squandering the opportunity to score again on a track that suited him.

"It was a really disappointing race. The start was OK and I could keep my position but then I fell back to ninth and was caught behind Kovalainen. I got past him at the chicane but then he cut back across and I spun and lost a lot of time. That was really the end of the race for me.

"When that happens it's obviously very disappointing as I thought we could have done really well today and got some points. We've just got to look forward to Brazil now — it's a similar type of circuit to here where the car has been competitive," he added.

Liuzzi, meanwhile, was happy with his race, which saw him move up five places from his 19th place on the starting grid.

"Overall I think it was not a bad race. Starting from that position it was always going to be difficult to score points but we showed strong pace and never gave up," said the Italian.

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