For the second time in his career at the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai in 2009 Adrian Sutil was about to become one of the biggest stories of the race. It all disappeared with a few laps to go - but in China, it was his fault, while in Monaco in 2008 it was not.
At the Monaco Grand Prix of 2008 Adrian Sutil became a hero. He drove from near the back of the grid to fourth position. He was driving the slowest car in the series, but with the rain leveling the playing field, the German driver known also for his concert level piano playing, saw all of his dreams disappear. With only four laps left in the race, Kimi Raikkonen, the Finnish driver in a Ferrari, ploughed into the back of Sutil's car and sent him out of the race and spoiled his chance to take points. He remained a hero even so, for it was not his fault and he proved his talent as a driver.
History Repeats Itself for Sutil in China
From Monaco to the Chinese Grand Prix of the following season, Sutil barely appeared as a player, so poor was his car. Then, once again, with a terrible rainy race in China in 2009, the third race of the season, Sutil again showed his talent. He rose again from the back of the grid right up to sixth position in another heroic and solid drive.
And then, just as suddenly and sadly as in Monaco the year before, all of Sutil's and his team's hopes and dreams evaporated with less than six laps to go. He spun off the track and ran into a tire barrier so violently that it destroyed the car and sent debris flying across the track. Fortunately, Sutil was uninjured. Unfortunately, this time the fault was his own, although he and his team blamed it on aquaplaning.
"With the aquaplaning on the straights it was sometimes hard to keep it on the circuit," Sutil said. "You never knew what was going to happen because the car went to the left or the right. With six laps to go I hit another patch of water and ended up in the wall. It was very disappointing."
Sutil's team noted that each time this happened to him, he had a reigning world champion driving behind him and putting the pressure on. In Monaco it was Raikkonen and in China, it was Sutil's friend Lewis Hamilton.
"That's true," Sutil said. "Maybe it's a little bit of bad luck then! It's just a little coincidence, but it's nice to race the world champions of course, when we don't have the fastest car in the field right now."