Di Resta hails 'massive' Force India result
22 April 2012 – Paul di Resta impressed many at Sakhir this afternoon, making the most of a two-stop strategy to finish sixth in the Bahrain Grand Prix. With effective tyre management being absolutely crucial because of the sandy track surface, the Scot successfully looked after his Pirellis and kept a handful of quicker drivers behind him.
Despite missing the entire second practice session on Friday, as Force India elected to take all employees back to their hotel before nightfall in Manama, di Resta still qualified tenth 24 hours later; in Q3, he elected not to run in order to save sets of tyres for today. He was overhauled by the works Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in the closing stages, then handsomely held off Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at the finish.
“The result today is massive for us,” the 2010 DTM Champion commented. “The team did an amazing job all weekend, the strategy came together and the pit-stops were perfect. We knew it would be a big ask to make only two stops and it was a close run thing at the end because my tyres completely went away on the final lap.
“I had Fernando very close behind me, but I saved a bit of KERS coming out of the final corner and managed to stay ahead. Apart from that, the car has been awesome. So we go away from here as a very happy team with a few weeks to reflect on things and determined to arrive in Barcelona in fighting form.”
Inside the paddock, there is a strong feeling that Bernie Ecclestone was irritated by the general press coverage generated by Friday’s non-appearance; in qualifying, no full frame of a Force India car was shown by FOM television and, despite a brief stint in the lead of today’s race, di Resta again only appeared briefly, such as when he – out of sequence because of the pit-stops – was passed by Sebastian Vettel.