Paul di Resta's battle to steal sixth place from a struggling Nico Rosberg in the pole-winning Mercedes car was one of the highlights of the closing laps of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday.

"We said before the race that seventh would be a good result and towards the end I was even fighting for sixth," said the Scot. "We can take a lot of positives from the weekend because this is a track that has traditionally not suited our car."

Di Resta twice ran as high as fifth place in Barcelona as he kept himself out of trouble and maintained his focus on the prize of getting the car home in the points for Force India.

"It's rewarding to come away with another seventh place for Paul and maintain our fifth place in the championship," said the team's deputy principal Bob Fernley in Spain. " Paul drove a very strong race and the calls from the pit wall kept him in the battle for sixth with Rosberg right until the last lap."

Di Resta was hopeful that this boded well for Force India as they head on to the next Grand Prix at Monaco in two weeks time.

"The result shows the consistency that we have had since the start of the year and that we can perform each weekend," he said. "There's more to come too, because there is more we can do to optimise the car with the new parts we introduced here, but this is definitely a big result for us."

Di Resta's team mate Adrian Sutil also had a strong run, although he was consigned to 13th place in the final classification after a disastrous early pit stop at the end of lap 8 that saw him motionless outside his garage for 75 seconds before finally being released back into F1 society.

"It was all going to plan until the first pit stop when there was an issue and I lost so much time," signed Sutil. "The team told me to switch the engine off while they sorted the problem, but it cost me the chance of points."

"Bad luck for Adrian, who lost a considerable amount of time during his first pit stop when the right rear wheel nut cross-threaded," explained Fernley. "It was very unfortunate because he had an amazing start, moving up five places on the opening lap.

The massively extended pit stop dropped Sutil down from eighth position to dead last, and he spent the rest of the afternoon in Barcelona slogging away trying to turn the lead he'd been handed into some sort of race gold. "It was a case of pushing as much as possible because you never know what can happen," he said.

Unfortunately there was no opportunity to come back from the deficit as an absence of any incidents or safety cars left him with too much ground to make up. He ended up in 13th place, a lap off the leaders but ahead of both Williams and Marussia cars as well as Sauber's Nico H?lkenberg and the surviving Caterham of Charles Pic.

"It's extremely disappointing to come away empty handed from this race because we were so quick today," said Sutil. "It's frustrating, but you have to accept these things. Hopefully it will not happen again."

"His race pace was very impressive once again and he would surely have scored well today," said Fernley of Sutil's endeavours. "As a team we will focus on the positives and head to Monaco confident that we can deliver a similar level of performance and get both cars in the points."