After his impressive sixth place in Germany, Adrian Sutil talks to ESPNF1 about his year so far, hopes for the rest of the season and future with Force India
Was the result in Germany a reflection of your pace or a strong strategy?
It was a combination of both. It was a perfect weekend. The car felt really good. We achieved the result because we were strong and not because we were lucky.
What's the challenge of having such a quick turnaround in races between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix?
It's always tough to have races in a week's time. There are not too many updates. However, we are confident of being competitive in Hungary as well. We have a good car and, with a good strategy, a similar result is achievable.
What is your target for Hungary; can you repeat the result of last weekend?
The target is score points. Hopefully, we can score more points than Germany.
How much do you feel the car has improved since the start of the season?
It has improved a lot. In the beginning it was quite difficult. However, in the past 3 or 4 races the team has been in Q3. Now, everything is going well and the car's performance is on the up. The second half of the season has been much stronger. We have been consistently scoring points. Hopefully, we can go further.
Was it frustrating waiting for developments to improve the car early in the year?
It was the work done earlier in the season because of which we are good now. We had to make a decision then and we took the right one.
Have you felt under pressure from your team-mate Paul di Resta after his strong start to the season, especially in qualifying?
Qualifying doesn't mean anything. I concentrate more on the race day. Paul is a good driver and I enjoy competition. However, it's not my teammate alone I am competing against. There are 23 drivers. As far as pressure is concerned, it is everywhere. It's the nature of the sport.
You've taken 16 points from the last four races you've finished, having scored two in the previous five. What would you say is behind the upturn in form?
Yeah, 16 points in the last four races... the car felt quite good. We had a good race in Monaco because of good strategy. In Montreal, it was tricky because of weather conditions and we missed out on scoring points. However, it's part of the game.
You've been with Force India for four years now (plus a year under the Spyker moniker), do you see the team progressing to match your ambitions?
We have been consistently competing in the top 10. Obviously, closing the gap to factory teams is a big step. However, it was great to beat Mercedes at the last race. We don't want to score just one or two points in a race. Both Vijay and I want more and we are in the right direction.
Have you become mentally tougher following the off-track attentions this season?
There are always some good and bad things happening. These things (off-track distractions) have made me stronger. Right now, I am feeling good.
What kind of effect did the FIA's recent rule-tweaking have on the car?
The recent rule changes have been quite good for us. We couldn't use the extreme engine mappings. It's good that it has been regulated. This has helped us in improving our performance.
How is the team gearing up for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix?
Though we would be preparing as seriously as we do for other races, the Indian GP is a special weekend for the whole team. We will be doing our best job and try to get a good result.I am hoping to finish on the podium. However, I am calm and staying focused on the job.
What are your aims for the rest of the year?
Currently, I am in 12th position in drivers' standings. However, things could change quickly with consistent points finishes. My target is to finish in 8th place, which looks quite achievable, or even better. However, at the same time the team championship is also equally important.