That left Sutil having to endure the supersoft option tyres for his final stint, and the German struggled for grip and dropped to seventh position in the closing laps - putting him right in di Resta's sights, as the Scot was running much faster on the medium prime tyres.
But di Resta was apparently told to hold station and bring home his car behind that of his slower team mate - much to his annoyance.
“I feel a bit robbed of a seventh place, given the way our strategy panned out,” he admitted. “Given the pace I had at the end of the race, and the difficulties Adrian was having with his tyres, I definitely had the pace for seventh.
“Of course, I'm disappointed with not getting seventh but, in the bigger picture for the team, it was a very important result in relation to the whole of the year," he added. "Getting two cars in the points is a great way to start the season."
Di Resta didn't explicitly confirm that he'd received actual team orders to hold off fro overtaking Sutil, and the team's deputy team principal Bob Fernley was equally careful with his choice of words.
“Paul was on the opposite strategy to Adrian and finished just a fraction behind Adrian in the end," he said. "He probably could have passed Adrian in the closing laps, but he held station to ensure we brought home the strong team result."