Force India finish 17th, 18th in Malaysian Grand Prix

April 5th, 2009 - 9:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sepang, April 5 (IANS) Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella finished 17th and 18th respectively in the chaotic Malaysian Grand Prix. The race was halted after 33 laps due to torrential downpour here Sunday.
Brawn GP’s Jenson Button was declared the winner. Button, who already won the season-opener in Melbourne last week, was leading from Toyota’s Timo Glock and Nick Heidfeld in a BMW-Sauber when race director Charlie Whiting suspended the race.

The race classification was then determined by the standings at the end of the 31st lap, and as a result Heidfeld finished second from Glock.

Force India had an encouraging double finish (10th and 12th) in the season opener in Australian Grand Prix but could not match that performance here.

Sutil said there was nothing he could do once his tyres were wrecked.

“When the rain started it was very difficult and just about impossible to drive. We were in second or first gear at 20kph and even then we were sliding around the circuit.

“It was a bit of a shame that the race couldn’t be restarted as I think we would have had a good chance in the wet conditions. In the end though it was too dark to restart.”

Fisichella said they had taken a wrong call to change to extreme wets very early on.

“We came in too early and I did three or four laps under dry conditions so we destroyed the tyre. Then it was raining and the grip was getting better and better but there was just so much water and the tyres were almost slicks so I could not control the car, it was just aquaplaning.”

Force India boss Vijay Mallya said his team will learn from the experience.

“Today in Malaysia we had almost unprecedented conditions and we took a risk with the strategy,” said Mallya.

“Unfortunately the rain we expected - which you can normally bank on coming - didn’t come soon enough and Giancarlo was unfortunate enough to be returning to the pits for a new set of extreme tyres when the rain hit hardest.

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