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GP Week : Issue 192
Paul di Resta might have narrowly missed out on scoring points in suzuka, but the scottish racer can take some solace in finally finishing a race, ending what was becoming a seemingly endless string of retirements for the Force India driver. After falling victim to five retirements in fifteen races – four of them in a row – di Resta counts himself lucky to be just three points behind former teammate Nico Hulkenberg in the drivers’ standings. That the Force India racer has managed to maintain such a position is not only a testament to the early promise shown by the VJM06, but also the car’s squandered potential before the change to Pirelli's tyre construction stripped away the team’s initial advantage over the opposition. Getting to grips with the car's nervous handling characteristics somewhat faster than teammate Adrian Sutil allowed di Resta to maximize what potential was in the car to line -up P14 on Sunday’s grid. “At the start of the race I didn't get a good launch and a few cars came by me,” said a circumspect di Resta on Sunday afternoon. “T hen we lost out at the first pit stop because the Williams of Bottas jumped us. That compromised the second stint, which is why we went very aggressive with an early second stop to get track position.” The strategy worked. Not only did the Scotsman jump the Williams, but he was able to leapfrog the Toro Rossos of Ricciardo and Vergne, finishing the Japanese Grand Prix only nine seconds behind Felipe Massa. Unfortunately for di Resta, a freshly-shod Jenson Button was able to outpace di Resta at the end, robbing the Silverstone -based team of vital championship points in their battle with McLaren in the constructors’ standing. “Paul came close today, but his race was hampered in the second stint when he was running behind Bottas,” said deputy team principal Bob Fernley. “But we were missing the pace to fend off the recovering Button and that cost us the final point. We made no secret that Suzuka was going to be the most difficult track for us in the second part of the season, but we remain upbeat as we head to India for the team's home race.” After leading McLaren in the Constructor's Championship in Canada, Force India now trail the Woking outfit by 21 points. Di Resta makes the flag at last 34 GPWEEK.com // 34 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> JAPAN