Despite heading to Spa-Francorchamps with the words of team owner Vijay Mallya warning against a repeat of last year's pole and second place finish, Force India left the Belgian Grand Prix with both drivers in the points, and the VJM03's reputation for straight-line speed enhanced.
Adrian Sutil finished a scintillating race in fifth position, his first point-scoring result since the British Grand Prix and his best result of the season since the Malaysia, while Tonio Liuzzi came home in a battling eleventh and was rewarded with a point when Jaime Alguersuari was penalised for cutting the chicane. The result moves Force India 18 points clear of Williams, who failed to score, in the constructors' championship, and cements Sutil into ninth position in the drivers' standings.
When rain fell just two laps into the race, Sutil steered stayed clear of the ensuing chaos and remained out on dry tyres despite a safety car period prompting others, notably Fernando Alonso scurrying for wets. On the restart, the German was able to jump ahead of the Williams of Nico Hulkenberg into seventh and, when Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button collided, was elevated to fifth.
He pitted for the harder slick tyres on lap 21, but was still able to cruise past Kamui Kobayashi - and then blew away seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher to regain fifth despite both drivers using the same Mercedes engine.
On lap 35 of 44, heavy rain started to fall and, this time, Sutil pitted for intermediate tyres. When Alonso spun on lap 38, another safety car period was called, allowing the German to move closer to the leaders and, although he was unable to gain any further positions, he finished just nine seconds behind close friend, and eventual winner, Lewis Hamilton.
"Another fifth place, so I am very pleased as I started in P8," the German reflected, "I think that was the best we could do, as it was very tricky conditions out there and you never knew what would happen with the weather.
"When the rain came, it was sometimes light in places and heavy in others and I had to really concentrate to drive it home safely. Of course, I was racing closely, so I had to keep pushing, particularly after the safety car periods when the field bunched up, so we had some great racing and overtaking. The upgrades worked well and we can still improve - it was just the start of the development, which looks good for the next race in Monza as well."
The Italian Grand Prix, of course, will be Liuzzi's home race, and the under-fire driver received a welcome change of fortune when he was awarded tenth place after the race. The point, albeit solitary, was reward for a battling drive that saw him fending off both Alonso and Vettel, but also saw him the unwitting victim of the German's aggression, losing his front wing at the Bus Stop chicane as Vettel chopped in front of him. Without the ensuing pit-stop, Liuzzi would almost certainly have earned more points, having been restricted to eleventh in a late battle with Alguersuari.
The stewards, however, decided that, in the heat of battle, the Spaniard had cut the chicane and not yielded his position, and added 20secs to his race time, promoting Liuzzi into tenth spot.