Allan McNish believes Paul di Resta has the potential to emulate fellow Brits Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button by winning the F1 drivers' title.
The Force India driver shone in Bahrain last month, and looked to be on course for his maiden podium finish, until he was passed by Romain Grosjean with just five laps to go. Despite that however, the 27-year-old was still happy and said it was 'probably his strongest Grand Prix' [see separate story
Speaking to BBC Sport
, McNish added that the performance will definitely have boosted his confidence ahead of next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
“Paul was driving like the old Jackie Stewart. It was the 'looking as if you're driving slow but actually driving very fast' approach. If someone puts him in the right car, he can fight for the world title,” McNish confirmed.
“That opportunity of getting in the right car, to be able to do it, is probably going to be the hard part to achieve. But it's performances like in Bahrain that will put his name in the frame for some of the seats that might be coming up at the end of the season.”
“I think he has developed and grown up [over the off season],” continued the BBC Radio 5 Live
analyst. “He had a difficult winter because he had no team-mate and was the one the team looked to for the lead on development.
“[But] he's still young and he's still got a lot of years ahead of him. That result in Bahrain will give him a lot of confidence and belief in what he can do inside the car. I would say a podium is on the cards at some point of the year. I don't think that's unrealistic.”