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di Resta: It was too late to take avoiding action...
8 September 2013
The 2013 Gran Premio d'Italia proved to be a short one for Paul di Resta, who failed to complete the opening lap following an incident at the Roggia chicane.
The Briton, who has deep Italian roots, was hoping for a good showing at Monza, but got no further than the second chicane, where a bottleneck resulted in him running into the back of both Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil, with terminal consequences for his afternoon.
Having survived a similar skirmish at the first turn, which resulted in Kimi Raikkonen needing a new nose following contact with Sergio Perez's McLaren, di Resta found cars checking up quicker than usual as the field tried to negotiate the left-right at Roggia, and was unable to prevent his car from running into the back of those ahead of him. The result was a badly mangled left-front corner on his VJM06, which was duly parked up on the infield of the chicane.
“I just got caught out going into the second chicane because the cars ahead of me got backed up,” the Scot confirmed, “I guess they were reacting to the tussle going on ahead of them, [but] I locked both fronts trying to stop the car and ended up hitting Grosjean. Unfortunately, it was too late to take avoiding action.
“It has been one of those weekends to forget, starting with the brake failure yesterday and now the early retirement today. Now we need to look forward to Singapore and put this one behind us.”
To make matters worse for di Resta, the stewards also took notice of the accident, but only decided to issue him with a reprimand rather than greater sanction, after acknowledging that he had tried to avoid contact with those ahead of him.
Neither Grosjean – who went on to finish eighth – or Sutil suffered in the impact, but the second Force India also failed to go the distance after succumbing to brake problems right at the end of the 53-lap race.
“It was a tough race and, in the end, we had to retire the car because of issues with the brakes,” the German acknowledged, “I tried my best and I don't think we could have delivered any more because I was on the limit throughout the race.”
Mired just outside the top ten all day, Sutil reckoned that points could have been possible had it not been for a couple of key moments.
“The pit-stop was good, but the team had to hold me on the exit because [Pastor] Maldonado was coming in, which meant I lost a position to [Esteban] Gutierrez,” he explained, “I was able to pass him again on the track, but there were some quick cars [namely Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton] with fresher tyres and there was no way to hold them off. Points were not too far away, but overall we didn't have the pace this weekend.”
Fortunately for Force India, main championship rival McLaren also suffered a poor return on its weekend, with only Jenson Button scoring in tenth place. As a result, the difference between the two teams in their fight for fifth overall only expands to five points with seven races remaining.
“We leave Monza empty-handed after a difficult weekend, and it's clear we need to recapture the form we showed before the summer break if we are to continue fighting for fifth in the constructors' championship,” team principal Vijay Mallya admitted.