Paul di Resta has said he feels Force India could follow the lead set by Sergio Perez and Sauber by securing a surprise podium finish before the current F1 season is at an end.

Perez emerged as the star of Sepang with a fine run to second place behind Fernando Alonso, and could well have secured a maiden F1 victory were it not for a mistake in the closing stages when he ran wide while chasing the Spaniard down.

The result has given both Perez and Sauber a massive boost in the championship standings at an early point of the season, but di Resta said he felt Force India could follow suit if circumstances went their way through the rest of the year - even if to finish in the top three for only the second time would be far from easy for the Silverstone-based team.

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"I don't think you can rule that out," he told reporters at an event in Delhi. "You have to be ready for that (the chance of taking a podium finish), if it should happen. It's going to be a massive task and a difficult one.

"You want it to happen, you go and prepare yourself for the weekend, if you can. We only saw this weekend what Sauber and Perez achieved.

"We have to believe that it can happen to us, if every circumstance goes the right way."

Giancarlo Fisichella took the only podium finish for Force India at Spa in 2009, where he also qualified on pole position.