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Sutil stayed “realistic” despite leading for the first time

Mar 19, 2013, 7:14 AM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-AUS-F1

Adrian Sutil says he stayed realistic about his chances of winning the Australian Grand Prix despite it being the first time he had led a Grand Prix.

It was a dream return for the Force India driver who did not race last year but hit the front of the field just 14 laps into his comeback:

“It was great to lead an F1 race for the first time,” he told the official F1 website. “I think it was 14 laps and I enjoyed each of them, but I was realistic and knew that a win or podium at this race was not realistic. But I fought hard to stay in front as long as possible.”

For Force India this was the first time they’d led two races in a row. Former driver Nico Hulkenberg led 30 laps of the 2012 season finale in Brazil.

Sutil admitted that failing to reach the top ten in qualifying played into his hands as it allowed him to choose his tires for the first stint:

“I was very lucky to have the chance to decide which tires I will start with. And we decided to start on the medium ones.

“This choice was the right one and I could even have stayed out for some more laps on them. The car felt fantastic and so I was even able to take the lead as all the others ahead of me had to pit earlier to take new tires.”

However once Sutil switched to the super-soft tires he struggled with graining in the final laps. He was caught by team mate Paul di Resta, who was told by his team not to overtake Sutil.

“I wasn’t sure for some laps if I could finish the race with this set of tires,” he added. “But after some laps with really bad lap times they came back and I could save P7, which was a great result for me.”

See Sutil leading the Australian Grand Prix in the video below:

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