The Brazilian Grand Prix was an eventful race for both Sahara Force India drivers, and while Nico Hülkenberg made the headlines, Paul Di Resta also had a strong race, lapping very quickly at various stages of the race.
Unfortunately his day ended with an accident that brought out the safety car, but until then he was destined to get some points.
From 10th on the grid Paul had a strong first lap in the difficult conditions, immediately getting up to seventh place.
“We had quite a reasonable launch and a good first lap,” said Paul. “Maybe I was a bit too cautious getting through the traffic, making sure we kept our nose clean.”
Despite attempting to stay out of trouble, Paul soon found himself involved in some not of his making, and which resulted in damage to his front wing.
“I was battling with Webber and Kobayashi through Turn One. I was the only one that didn’t go wide, and as they came back on the track they damaged my front wing – we picked up endplate damage.”
Paul was able to keep going, still in seventh place. Meanwhile as the drizzle became more intense, life became difficult for all the drivers. He pitted for intermediate tyres on lap 10.
“The issue was it was starting to rain and it was at that point where the crossover to inters was working. We had just picked up a slow puncture so we took the decision to go onto inters.”
Team mate Nico Hülkenberg was, along with Jenson Button, one of only two drivers to stay out. Paul says that, without the puncture, he too would have tried to avoid a tyre change.
“I think we probably would have stayed out. We normally stay out longer than most people and at that point I hadn’t said I wanted to pit. It was slippery, but on the pit wall they had seen an alarming sign on the front [tyre pressure], so they called me in. In hindsight we were quicker for two laps on wets, but it very quickly dried out again.”
Like others who had gone to intermediates, Paul had no choice but to return for dry tyres on lap 18. He took the opportunity to fit a new nose.
“We got ourselves back in, changed the wing, put slicks on, and we were coming through reasonably well.”
He was running eighth behind Mark Webber when debris led to the safety car being dispatched on lap 23. The track was yellow for some seven laps.
“The safety car came out, and then we struggled after the safety car for tyre temp, so it was difficult to get going. Then we got moving.”
Paul was again in seventh place when a quick gyration cost him ground on lap 32: “I did have a spin, but everybody had a spin! It was just the conditions. It was a bit costly, but I was working my way back through.
“We were just getting quick as the rain started to come back and we were hoping that it was going to dry out again. We stayed out a lap too late before we got on to inters.”
Paul made his third and final stop for intermediates on lap 57. As the rain got heavier, he was running very well in ninth place. He was keen to catch Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi up ahead. On lap 69 he passed the spinning Sauber driver for eighth only to have an incident of his own on the pit straight at the end of the lap.
“We were coming through very strongly – we were the quickest car on the track at that point, really motoring. I was catching Michael at 2 seconds a lap, and that’s what I needed to do. And then unfortunately I got caught out with aquaplaning. I did nothing different, just lit up the back wheels and hit the wall very hard.”
The safety car came out immediately, and Paul is adamant that had he not gone off then one of the following cars along might have.
“I think the next person behind me would have done the same thing, it was just getting worse and worse. Nico even commented on the radio that it was getting undriveable. It just caught me out.”
“It was ups and downs, it was good racing and we passed a lot of people. It was looking like it was going to be quite a good end, an eighth place definitely and possibly seventh.”
The season may have ended with a bang, but Paul is happy with the progress he made: “It’s been a difficult end to the year for various things that we had. I think the team can definitely come back fighting hard!”
Source: Force India