Sutil progresses to get among Belgian points

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Adrian Sutil finished ninth in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps to score points for the Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team, write Colin and James Beckett.

The German qualified 12th for the race and made progress as others encountered problems around the breathtaking track set deep in the heavily wooded Ardennes region.

Speaking afterwards, Sutil said: “It was good to finish in the top ten and score points for the team.

“Obviously the aim is to finish each race as high as possible and ideally I would have liked to have been higher in this race. However, we have had bad luck lately and any points are good.”

It was the first time Sutil had scored points since the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in June and it was his fifth points haul of the season.

He is now placed eleventh in the championship standings.

One place ahead of him in the championship race is his team-mate, Paul di Resta, who failed to finish the race after a collision with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

Di Resta qualified fifth, only narrowly missing out on the top spot as times tumbled due to improving track conditions.

The collision with Maldonado caused significant damage to the Mercedes-powered Force India car and the young Scot was an instant race retirement.

He said: “Qualifying left us all expecting good things from the race.

“The collision was stupid and ended my race. I can’t say anything else really – I am annoyed and now we have to look towards Monza and hope that race is better for us.”

Lewis Hamilton qualified for Sunday’s race on pole position for Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas but was unable to maintain the position throughout the race – eventually finishing third behind world championship leader, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton said: “Spa is an awesome track to drive and to score another pole was great for the team. The race for the championship is well and truly on and it will be difficult for me to win the title this year, but everything is possible.”

Nico Rosberg, driving the second Mercedes-Benz car finished the race in fourth position.

The two-time 2013 race winner said: “I didn’t have the pace to catch the three cars ahead of me in the race but these were good points I scored for the team.

“It helps us in the Constructors’ Championship.”

The season continues with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September 8.

l The Milton Keynes-based Red Bull team did not announce Daniel Ricciardo as their new for 2014 team driver at Spa as was expected, and so Ricciardo was able to concentrate on racing for the part Bicester-based Toro Rosso team.

The Australian finished the race in tenth position, two places ahead of his French team-mate, Jean Eric Vergne.