May 23, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT
Adrian Sutil has spoken of his delight upon returning to the streets of Monte Carlo following a year out of Formula One.
The German driver has enjoyed a good record at the circuit. In 2008, he shocked the F1 establishment by running as high as 4th for Force India, but his race was ruined when Kimi Raikkonen‘s Ferrari ran into his rear wing and forced him to retire. Despite some bad luck in recent races, Sutil has made a good start to the season, and he is happy with his practice pace in Monaco.
“It’s always a pleasure to come back to Monaco and drive a Formula One car at the limit – and for me it is two years since I last drove here,” Sutil said in a team statement. “It did not take me long to find my rhythm again and things went pretty well.”
A good showing in practice saw Sutil finish P13 in the morning session, before improving by seven-tenths to finish 11th in FP2.
“We made some progress between the two sessions and I’m feeling comfortable with the car. We know what the plan is for tomorrow and where we can improve to be ready for Saturday.”
Force India’s chief race engineer, Jakob Andreasen, has set his drivers a target of finishing in the points this weekend.
“Performance-wise, I would say we are in our usual position and the target for Saturday is to see both cars inside the top ten,” Andreasen said.
Points will certainly be Sutil’s aim, having failed to score since the opening round of the season in Australia where he led the race for a few laps. His good Monaco record makes him one of the dark horses for a top ten finish, and perhaps even a spell towards the front should he optimize his strategy on Sunday.