Despite an uncharacteristic slump in showing for the Force India
team as a whole at the last Grand Prix in Germany, Britain's Paul di Resta s feeling upbeat heading to the Hungaroring
this weekend and hoping for better fortunes.
"I'm feeling positive," he insisted on Wednesday. "At the start of the year it would have been hard to imagine that we would be fifth in the championship after nine races, but that's what we've achieved.
"Every part of the team is working well and that's been the key," he added. "There have been some missed opportunities, but we've always recovered well and been able to keep the momentum going.
"There's no reason why we can't be competitive," he added. "The big unknown is the new Pirelli tyres. It's a big challenge for all the teams to try and get on top of them quickly. It's hard to say if they will impact on the performance level of the teams, but we will go into the weekend with the same approach and then target Q3 on Saturday and points on Sunday."
Di Resta said that he enjoyed coming to Hungary and that Budapest was one of his favourite cities to visit.
"I've always enjoyed going to Budapest since I first visited in 2010 when I was the team's third driver," he said. "It's an historic city and I usually stay very close to the river in the centre. It's full of interesting places and great restaurants."
Unfortunately his love of the city had not been returned in kind by the Hungaroring
itself. "My racing memories are mixed, but the 2011 race was an exciting one on a damp track. I finished seventh – which was my best finish in F1 at the time," he noted.
The tight and twisty track is notoriously difficult to overtake on, although the FIA has introduced a second DRA activation zone immediately after turn 1 to try and address that issue. Last year there were just 19 successful overtaking moves during the race, compared with 23 for 2012's Monaco Grand Prix, and di Resta admitted that this weekend's event would be hard work especially with temperatures expected to exceed 100F on race day.
"It's very demanding physically and mentally because you are nearly always in a corner," he explained. "The layout feels more like a street track and all the corners flow into each other so you need to find the rhythm of the track and build your confidence with each lap.
is also little used outside of the F1 Grand Prix weekend, meaning that when the cars take to the track on Friday for Free Practice 1 they invariably find it covered in dust and dirty that has to be cleaned up by the cars before a clean line emerges.
But for di Resta, it's worth the wait: "By the time the track is fully rubbered in it feels very satisfying to drive," he said.