Spa, Belgium: A collision caused a premature end to Paul di Resta's race while Adrian Sutil finished ninth in the Belgian Grand Prix as Sahara Force India lost its fifth place to McLaren, here on Sunday.
The team was struggling ever since the introduction of new tyres by Pirelli and today was a good chance to gain some lost ground on the back of Di Resta's fifth place on the grid.
However, misfortune struck the side when the Scot was hit by Pastor Maldonado, who was trying to overtake Esteban Gutierrez, in lap 28.
Di Resta was firmly in points contention even as he had dropped some places but the crash forced his second retirement of the season. Before this, it was at the Malaysian GP where the Scot had retired.
Sutil, who could also have been a victim of that crash, drove superbly from 12th position to ninth as it snapped side's point-less streak. The side had returned without points in the last two races.
However, Jenson Button finished a strong sixth to earn eight points, which helped McLaren take a four-point lead over Force India, who now have 61 points.
Force came into the race with a narrow two-point lead over nearest-rival McLaren.
Defending champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull won the race while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso raced amazingly from ninth to second. Joining them on podium was Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who yet again failed to win from pole.
Only one time, out of five pole position, the Mercedes driver has managed to win this season.
It was quite challenging for di Resta right from the start as Alonso and Button past him in the opening lap itself to push him to seventh.
Vettel also overtook pole sitter Hamilton in the first lap to take lead of the race. But it was Alonso who was flying as he worked his way to third from ninth by lap six.
The Spaniard, using his DRS very effectively, overtook Button to move to fourth and then past Nico Rosberg.
Di Resta took his first pit stop in lap 11 and then rejoined the race in 13th position. He gained a place but Kimi Raikonnen past him.
Sutil made impressive progress as he moved to top-10 and both Force India drivers now had good chance to end among points.
Sutil was lucky as before hitting Di Resta, the Williams driver had almost clashed with him. Surviving that dangerous moment, the German continued to drive strongly and earned the team two points for the side.
Sutil expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the race for him.
"I always enjoy driving here at Spa and I had some exciting overtaking moves today, which felt very nice. The two-stop strategy was the best way to go and it worked out well because I think we achieved the maximum that was available to us. We are still in a close fight with McLaren so it was important to get back in the points today after a couple of tough races," said Sutil.
Paul di Resta was disappointed that lost opportunity to score points.
"Pastor [Maldonado] went in deep and missed the apex so I tried to get the cut-back and was going around the outside of him. He then decided to try and enter the pit lane, which was impossible given his track position. As a result he hit me, which took the rear corner off my car. It’s a real shame because the speed was quite strong today and I think there was definitely a point or two up for grabs."