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Home race gloom for di Resta and Force India
8 July 2012
Paul di Resta's exit from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone came very early - and happened so fast that not even the driver knew what was going on.
"I'm not really sure what happened," said di Resta after retiring on lap 3. "I just turned into turn four and there was no pressure in the right rear tyre so it was clearly punctured and coming off the rim."
Di Resta said he hadn't even been aware of the slight contact between the wheel and the front wing of Romain Grosjean's Lotus, which had sliced the tyre open just seconds before di Resta went flying off the track.
"All I could do was bring the car back to the pits, but there was quite a lot of damage to the floor," he continued. "I took some fresh tyres and went back out, but I was missing a lot of downforce and I went off the track at Becketts."
He came back into the pits again for the team to take another look, but the writing was by now firmly on the wall.
"The team made the call to retire the car," he confirmed. "I'm very disappointed because we took a gamble yesterday by running a dry set-up and the conditions today would have been ideal for us."
His car would have been well suited to the dry conditions today and we never got a chance to see what he could do in front of his home crowd," said Force India's team principal and managing director, Dr Vijay Mallya.
Force India had gone the other direction with di Resta's team mate Nico Hulkenberg: "My car was set up to favour wet conditions," said the German driver, which turned out to be a mistake when Silverstone was suddenly bathed in sunshine for the two hours it took to run the race. "Hurt my top speed this afternoon ... It was a tough race today."
Hulkenberg had his own troubles as he sought to overcome a ten-place starting grid penalty for a gearbox change, which left him scrapping with Jenson Button, Bruno Senna and Kamui Kobayashi over the final championship points in the final laps.
"There were always cars around me in the race, especially in the final few laps when I had to defend from Bruno and Jenson, and I could not afford to make any mistakes," he said. But a mistake is just how it ended.
"Unfortunately I locked up the rears going into turn three with two laps to go and that gave Bruno the chance to get ahead of me in the DRS zone," he said after finishing in 12th place by the end. "It's frustrating to lose points so close to the finish but my tyres were running out of performance and the car was not easy to drive in the final stint."
Dr Mallya couldn't conceal his own feelings about the way the afternoon had gone for his two drivers: "We should have scored points today so we leave our local race feeling disappointed," he said.
"Nico drove a strong race and looked set for ninth, but we lost out to Senna with a couple of laps to go," he added. "Unfortunately in his eagerness to regain the spot Nico ran wide at Copse corner and dropped out of the points, which is frustrating."
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