Despite much of the focus being on the leading four outfits – Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes GP – don’t forget that a fifth team stepped up to the plate at the season-opening Bahrain GP: Force India.

Despite only securing two points with a ninth-placed finish to Vitantonio Liuzzi, both he and team-mate Adrian Sutil were very much forces to be reckoned with at the previous round, punching well above their weight in practice and qualifying.

Having qualified in the top-ten, Sutil took the unusual decision to qualify and start the race on the harder of the two compounds available, figuring that a longer first stint would give him track position over the runners ahead of him when they made their first pit stops.

Unfortunately, fans and Sutil were robbed of the chance to see how this strategy played out when – in almost time-honoured tradition – Adrian found himself involved in yet another first-lap incident, spinning to rear of the field and staging a recovery drive that would net him a twelfth placed finish.

Bahrain GP - Sutil Spins

Fortunately, Tonio drove a measured race and finished ninth at the flag to net himself and the team two important championship points.

With this positive start in mind, Sutil now believes that Force India can repeat its Bahrain form and possibly be even stronger at this weekend’s Melbourne GP.

"I think it was a very good start to the season," said Sutil. "We were very competitive in free practice, I was quickest in FP1, and then again in qualifying where both Tonio and myself were in the top 12. Last year we didn’t get through to Q2 in Bahrain so to come out and be in the top 12 is really positive.

"Everything went well until the start of the race for me and then I dropped back down the field but from the team perspective at least one car got into the points.

"But now we want to go even higher in Australia. I think there is still potential to improve everything and get close to the top five or six."

Provided you can keep the car pointing in the right direction, Adrian!

[Original image via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.