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

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Life and Style
The designer Veronica Etro (right) and her models enjoy the closing moments of her show during the 2015 spring/summer collections at Milan Fashion Week
fashionVersace at Milan Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week