Paul di Resta has admitted he was 'delighted' at being promoted into the points on his F1 debut in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at the weekend, describing the outcome as a 'mega result' – and vowing to be even 'faster' next time out in Malaysia.
It was a solid start indeed for di Resta Down Under, out-qualifying his far more experienced Force India F1 team-mate Adrian Sutil by a couple of spots in 14th place and going on to run inside the top ten in the race before slackening his pace in the closing stages due to fuel conservation concerns.
After the pair – on different strategies – had exchanged positions on several occasions, the 24-year-old Scot ultimately followed Sutil home in twelfth, which became tenth when the Saubers of Sergio Pérez and Kamui Kobayashi found themselves unexpectedly excluded from the classification over a technical infringement [see separate story – click here
Confessing that the wait before being bumped up the order had 'definitely been worth it', di Resta reflected upon the mature performance that has seen him join an exclusive club of just 59 competitors to have troubled the scorers on their grand prix bow – although the result will remain provisional until after Sauber's appeal is heard.
“This is a mega result for me and the team,” enthused the reigning DTM Champion and former F3 Euroseries king. “It is exactly what we set out to achieve, and I am delighted to have scored my first point in my debut race – it's a great achievement, both for me and the team. Hopefully this will be the first of many, but it's fantastic to know the records show I've already scored a world championship point.
“It was quite good. I made a reasonable start, was up to tenth and was quicker than [Kamui] Kobayashi at the beginning, but he went a bit defensive and too extreme with his blocking. As a consequence, [Sébastien] Buemi managed to get by me, and Adrian was on a different strategy and we went our different ways. The important thing for me was to get round and finish my first race, and I wasn't too far away from Adrian at the end.
“Yes, I did make a few mistakes, especially on 'in' laps with the procedures that you have to go through, but this is still a learning experience for me and so much of it is new. So long as I don't make the same mistake twice, I can move on from that and I know I'll be faster in the next race in Malaysia. The mistakes didn't look so much from the outside, but I know I lost enough time to make a difference to me being able to challenge other people.
“Physically, I wasn't too bad. To be honest, I would have said I had more problems with the race simulation in Barcelona, but I think Australia is well-known for not being too hard. Now we just have to get through these next couple of races before we see the new stuff and the new theory we have behind the upgrades, when we hope to see a reasonable gain. It's the first one out of the way, and we're definitely more competitive than we thought we were going into this race.”