Adrian Sutil's Inspiring Drive in Monaco Grand Prix

Alex CowleyCorrespondent IMay 25, 2008

Well, it seems my belief that Ferrari would dominate Monaco was mistaken, although after Saturday, it seemed my statement may been a reality.

Overall it was a bad day for Ferrari...With a race that seemed to mirror Australia, Hamilton scampered off into the distance while the Ferraris struggled.

What amazes me is not only the brilliance of Hamilton, lapping over 1 second faster than the likes of Felipe Massa, but also the brilliance of another driver...Adrian Sutil.

Hamilton may have won in "Senna-esque" fashion, but if anything, it was the drive of Adrian Sutil that ranks up there as one of the drives of the season.

It brings out the qualities I like to see in a driver and my belief represents many of the qualities held by drivers such as Hakkinen, Schumacher and of course Ayrton Senna:

a) Takes advantage of a situation when things go their way.

b) Punches above their weight in an inferior car.

c) Shows the emotion of a driver who has the passion for F1.

I believe that Adrian showed all of these qualities in the race today. His ability to get the lowly Force India (now the perennial back-marker with the demise of Super Aguri) into fourth was not simply stunning. We know that Adrian is a good driver in the wet (first in Practice last year in a Spyker at Monaco and eighth in Fuji attest to that), but to be in fourth in the wet in the Force India was sensational.

While James Allen may have nattered on about the brilliance of Lewis Hamilton, his similarity to Senna, and his never ending drive to emulate his hero, it was Adrian who could draw parallels with the great Brazilian.

Mainly, one of Senna's most pivotal drives of his career, the 1984 Monaco GP, where the Brazilian raced a Toleman, not a race winning car, against the might of Prost, Lauda and Rosberg, navigating the tight twisty bends of Monaco in the extreme wet and lapping as much as 4 seconds a lap faster than Prost.

What comparison can be made is that Sutil not only took the fight to the top men in an inferior car but was able to lap most of the race at the same pace of cars he would have had no hope of competing with in the dry.

Yet he was still able to keep the car out of the barriers when former World Champions and race winners failed. He didn't make the mistakes which others made and kept himself out of trouble until that fateful moment with Raikkonen.

Overall, the speed and precision of Hamilton won the day and yet Sutil may get just as much of the admiration as the race winner. This is emphasised by the fact that Sutil has not been the most consistent driver this season and has been involved in several incidents.

In Australia and Spain, Sutil didn't get much farther than the first few corners. Also at times, Sutil has been a bit in the wilderness speed-wise. Yet, he was able to race with such consistency on Sunday that befits a true racer.

Many examples of wet weather driving can be compared to Sutil's performance. I'm sure nobody would say that Jos Verstappen's rise from 18th on the grid to a to as high as second in Malaysia 2001 was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Secondly, Giancarlo Fisichella who got the similarly mediocre Benetton onto the podium, Spa 2001. Sutil's ability today rivaled many such brilliant underdog drives.

What also endeared me to him was his passion after the terminal shunt with Raikkonen. Moments like this show there is still passion in a sport that many dismiss as dull, repetitive and bland. It's moments like those that prove there is still the passion and excitement left in F1, possibly a by-product of such events as Monaco.

It shows that Sutil is not only a passionate and talented young racer, but also a true racer in the mold of some of the great racers of our time.

Overall, Adrian is a driver who greatly puzzles me. At times he seems to be off the pace, and yet inspirational moments come to him from seemingly nowhere. Sunday was such a moment, and hopefully it won't be forgotten for a long time.