He's come close before - he's twice finished in fourth place as two of his 17 top ten finishes in his 45 Grand Prix outings to date with Force India since his d?but with the team in Australia at the start of the 2011 season - but now Paul di Resta is firmly setting his sights on getting that long-awaited podium finish this weekend in Montreal in the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix.

"Given the weekend in Bahrain, if we can unleash the car's potential we can get on the podium, said an assertive di Resta on Friday after practice. "In Bahrain, if we'd just been a little bit quicker we would have achieved it.

"Here suits our car a bit better but that doesn't mean we're going to get straight on the podium," he continued. "It's hard work. Reading the conditions is key; we have to make sure we don't make any mistakes in qualifying and put ourselves in the best position for Sunday."

The 'mistakes' are undoubtedly a reference to the strategy error in Monaco that saw him knocked out of qualifying in Q1, which in turn thwarted any hopes he had for a strong result - although he still made up eighth positions from 17th on the grid to finish in the points in ninth at the chequered flag.

While he could have arguably hoped for so much more in qualifying, that sort of race recovery gives him reason to be optimistic this weekend. "It could be a big opportunity for us. As I've said, the speed is showing well. As long as we can maintain that then we'll have high hopes," he said.

Di Resta's top time in FP1 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was down to good timing with the selection of tyres, the Scot admitted.

"We were quite cautious with the wet weather this morning and we only fitted the dry tyres for the last few minutes of the session," he said. "Before that I had a good run on the intermediates and felt happy with the performance, probably the most comfortable I've felt on the intermediates this year.

"The afternoon was a case of getting through the dry tyre programme and trying to find the right car balance," he offered. "Unfortunately things were cut short with the electrical issue, so I didn't do the long runs we had planned for the final part of the session."

The electrical issue with his car cost di Resta the last half hour of the session and left him in 13th place in the FP2 timings after he missed out on a final run on the supersoft tyres.

"I think our performance on the medium tyres - both the prototype and the standard one - showed very strong. I think that when we were on track, we were well within the top three," he pointed out. "I suppose the nice thing is that the car seems to be fast. If we can make the same gain that most cars made on supersofts then we should be looking, hopefully, in the top six."

Fortunately di Resta's team mate Adrian Sutil was able to continue with long run simulations to ensure the team didn't lose out on any data acquisition for what will be the Force India team's 100th race.

"We had lots of different track conditions today, but the car was quick in both sessions," confirmed Sutil. "The wet morning gave us a chance to improve our performance on the intermediates and the car felt good.

"In the dry this afternoon the main issue was warming up the front tyres, especially the medium tyres," he added. "On the supersofts there was much better grip and the long runs seemed quite competitive so it feels as though we are at our usual level here. Tonight we just need to work on making the car more consistent."