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GP Week : Issue 181
Force India could be excused for feeling slightly crestfallen in Sakhir. With another first lap shunt for Adrian Sutil and a podium slipping from their grasp in the final stint, a lesser team would have let their collective head drop. But the mere fact that Force India are still fighting for podiums after a run of misfortune in Malaysia and China only serves to underline the fighting spirit of the underdog Northamptonshire outfit. After looking promising for a podium position for the majority of the Bahrain Grand Prix and even leading the race, it was only six laps from the end that Paul di Resta had to eventually concede third place to a hard-charging Romain Grosjean – the Swiss/Frenchman’s late pit for fresh rubber proving crucial in annexing the Scot from the final step on the dias. Di Resta has been champing at the bit to stretch the legs of the VJM06 since the beginning of the season after a series of pit lane miss-haps, collisions with teammate Adrian Sutil, and traffic issues have effectively masked other wise impressive performances. A circumspect di Resta was however keeping his emotions in check, having scored his career-best result in Formula One. “In China we had a coming together with Adrian which wasn’t ideal and then I essentially got stuck behind Perez which grained the front tyres,” the Scottish racer said. "It's obviously a bit disappointing late in the race, but on the strategy we were on you were always going to be vulnerable at the end. Unfortunately, Grosjean not doing that well in qualifying I think cost us, because he had two fresh sets of medium tyres and then you're on a three-stop; that was the key to today.” Strategy was what gained Force India an impressive track position with Adrian Sutil in Melbourne, but ultimately lost him places when he was racing too hard on the soft tyre. Nevertheless, like Lotus and Ferrari, the Silverstone squad have demonstrated devastating long-run pace when circumstances have allowed, something Di Resta is hoping to capitalize on heading into the European leg of the season. “I think we'll go away from here very happy,” he said. “Had we scored some good points in Malaysia – which we were on course to do – this would have been quite a successful first four races. I'm looking for ward to Barcelona; we just need the team to work a bit harder and bring some upgrades because the potential of this car – if we can just switch it on a little bit more I think there's far more we can do with it... We'll get on the podium one day, I hope – and hopefully that's very soon.” Di Resta’s Force majeure F1 >>> BAHRAIN 19 GPWEEK.com // 19 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: