Di Resta hails Bahrain Grand Prix “best” ever race
The Scottish racer narrowly missed out on third place after being overtaken by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who was on much fresher Pirelli tyres. He admitted that the strategy was perhaps safer than what the others decided on and he had no defense for Grosjean but overall it was a very positive weekend for him.
Talking to after the race to the team he said “It’s great to round off the fly-away races with a fourth place and a race that was probably my strongest Grand Prix. The podium was very close but with our strategy we were always going to be vulnerable at the end of the race – especially to Grosjean who had two new sets of medium tyres. I had a good start to the race, a strong opening stint and we showed our true pace today, but ultimately fourth place was the maximum that was possible.”
However the former DTM champion is confident that his time will come for standing on the Formula 1 podium, saying “We will get on the podium one day, hopefully soon, but for now we can be very happy with the points we’ve scored today. A big thanks to the whole team because it’s been an excellent weekend and I feel we managed to get 100% out of the car.”
Adrian Sutil had a contrasting race weekend. He pulled away from the grid in sixth place but contact with the Ferrari of Felipe Massa at turn four gave him a puncture, dropping him down the field. It was an uphill struggle for him after that and he recovered to 13th place after using the more common three stop strategy.
Reflecting on his difficult race he said “It’s disappointing to get a puncture in a race that looked so promising. My start was clean and I was racing Massa going into turn four. I was on the outside; I gave him a lot of space but he was off-line and made contact with my front right tyre. I don’t know what he did exactly but I had a puncture immediately. I had to pit and lost a lot of time, which ended my chance of scoring points.”
However the German took confidence in his race pace after pitting for repairs, saying “I had amazing pace in the race and I just kept my head down to try and recover something from the race, but I had lost too much with the puncture. But I’m happy for the team and fourth place for Paul gives us more points. There are many more races to come so we will keep focused and next time score points with both cars.”
Team Principal and Managing Director of Force India, Vijay Mallya, commented on his drivers contrasting fortunes during the race. He said “A tremendous job by the team and a wonderful drive by Paul saw us come within a whisker of the podium today. Although we missed out on third, the twelve points scored keep us up in fifth place in the Championship and give us every reason to be optimistic for the coming races. Of course, we could have achieved so much more had Adrian not picked up a puncture on lap one. The contact with Massa proved very costly because Adrian’s race pace was on par with Paul’s and we should have brought both cars home in the points.”
However he decided not to think too much about the negatives and instead switch focus to the positives of the race weekend, one that really showed how good the VJM06 is (particularly in race trim). He added “We will focus on the positives and enjoy that fourth place, which has confirmed the pace of the car and shown once again that we can race up at the front and beat some of the top teams.”
A very impressive and positive race weekend for Force India despite not getting two cars in the points. Di Resta had a mistake free run to fourth place and Sutil drove well to recover after dropping to the back of the pack on the first lap. Plenty of positives to take away for the Silverstone based team as focus switches to Formula 1’s return to Europe in three weeks time.
Image courtesy of Sahara Force India F1 Team
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.