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Sutil reaches 100 races still chasing first podium

Force India Formula One driver Adrian Sutil of Germany walks in the garage during the first practice session of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix
Force India Formula One driver Adrian Sutil of Germany walks in the garage during the first practice session of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix

By Alan Baldwin

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Adrian Sutil is a man in a hurry but he needs to move up a gear in Hungary this weekend to have a chance of a first podium finish in his 100th Formula One grand prix.

The Force India driver, who has only ever raced for the one team in its various guises since his debut in 2007, told reporters that he was proud of the milestone but any celebrations would be limited.

"The fact is, it's now 100 grands prix and no podium and I want to be on the podium so I need to hurry up. I don't want to wait a long time to achieve this goal," the German said determinedly.

"But I never give up. I like it here and try to make it better and still believe we can make it...this year we had some opportunities, it was close.

"But it's just that you are so on the limit to be in this area (of finishing in the top three), one little mistake and it's already gone. Whereas with a top team you can do mistakes and you finish still on the podium easily."

Sutil finished fourth in Italy in 2009, after starting on the front row for the first and only time in his career, and this season has a best of fifth in Monaco.

He missed the 2012 season, dropped by the team at the end of 2011 after a nightclub fracas in China involving a broken champagne glass, but returned this season to partner Britain's Paul Di Resta.

The tall German said he felt comfortable in the Silverstone-based team, which has gone from Jordan to Midland to Spyker to Force India.

McLaren's Jenson Button won in Hungary in 2011 in his 200th race and Sutil, without being superstitious, hoped his 100th could be marked with a big step up for him.

"One hundred (races), it makes me feel a bit older," he said. "I have to perform and I have it in my hands this weekend.

"There's still a lot of time and I look forward to the future. I have my goals, I haven't achieved all the goals I wanted within the 100 grands prix. I thought it would be a bit easier to climb on the podium."

Sutil brings some sponsorship to the team but his future at Force India beyond this season remains open.

He said he knew where he wanted to go and was confident in his qualities as a driver.

The 30-year-old, who came back after being handed an 18 month suspended jail sentence and fined 200,000 euros ($264,700)for the Shanghai incident, bristled when asked by a reporter to be more specific about them.

"You don't know what my qualities are?," he asked. "You like always writing something bad? People are quite afraid to say something good, they are more easy to say something bad about someone.

"I think after so many years people should realize my qualities.

"I don't need to tell you how good I am. I show it every weekend here on the circuit...I am still here after six years so that just shows I do something right, I have my qualities and I don't need to explain them."

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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