F1: Shamed Adrian Sutil makes most of second chance with sparkling return with Force India

Sutil was convicted of assaulting Lux with a champagne glass and given an 18-month suspended jail sentence

Adrian Sutil returned to Formula One with a bang, yet ultimately reaped only seventh place on a day when he led the Australian Grand Prix in style for Force India.

But he proved to any doubters that he deserved a second chance in the big league after the incident with the then Renault executive Eric Lux in a Chinese nightclub in April 2011 that left him out in the cold for the whole of the 2012 season.

Sutil was convicted of assaulting Lux with a champagne glass and given an 18-month suspended jail sentence and a €200,000 (£173,000) fine for grievous bodily harm.

But he was given his new break by Force India after an impressive showing during testing in Barcelona in March.

Insiders in the Silverstone-based team say that Sutil (pictured) has been more humble on his return. "He went to the test in a very relaxed mood because he had accepted that it was a shoot-out between him and Jules Bianchi," one said.

"During his time out from racing he has discovered that he can make money and enjoy life, so he was more relaxed and able to take the view that if things worked out, they did. And if they didn't, well, that was the way they were meant to go.

"He genuinely wants to pay the team back for giving him this second chance," another said. "That's shown in all his dealings so far, and his attitude to everyone here."

Sutil's performance yesterday was more convincing than anything that his fellow countryman Michael Schumacher produced in three years during his comeback, and better at the same stage than Kimi Raikkonen's in 2012.

His drive, together with that of team-mate Paul Di Resta's run to eighth, helped Force India earn 10 points and take equal fourth place in the constructors' world championship with Mercedes.

Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley said: "Adrian's return to racing has been fantastic and it's clear he has lost none of his speed or racecraft.

"He was on a different strategy to most of the front-runners, but made it work beautifully and showed strong pace throughout the Grand Prix – even leading for 11 laps."

The 30-year-old drove superbly, without any sign of rustiness as he led from lap 39 to 42, until he dropped to fifth and was unable to resist attacks from Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber which dropped him to seventh place at the finish. "I had a fantastic race," Sutil, who took over Nico Hulkenberg after the German left for Sauber, said. "The pace was quick and the car felt very good so I was able to keep up with the guys in front of me, who I knew were going to pit early.

"It was my first time leading in Formula One. After my second pit stop I was back in the lead once again, so I knew that it was possible to come away with a great result.

"It is only three weeks since I knew I was back and I just had three test days – it couldn't be a better start. This result for the team is a perfect way to start the season and I want to say a big 'thank you' to the team once again."

Raikkonen is a throwback to simple days of Stirling Moss

the way I see it page 24

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx pages x-x

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx pages x-x

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower