Clutch issues thwart di Resta's efforts at Suzuka
8 October 2012
Scot Paul di Resta endured what he described as a "testing" Japanese GP in Suzuka, where he finished 12th for Force India while his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was more successful in securing points for the team with a seventh place finish.
“Quite a testing race for me," di Resta explained. "Things started to go wrong on the parade lap when I had a clutch issue, so it was not a big surprise when I made a poor getaway of the line.
“Going into turn 1 I was almost at the back of the field, so I was able to stay out of trouble and avoid the accidents ahead of me," he added. "But when you lose so much ground at the front, it's difficult to recover.
“I was always in traffic, and without running in clean air, I couldn't really show the potential of the car," he continued. "We were not too far away with the set-up, but I never really found the sweet spot during the race.
Bob Fernley, the deputy team principal of the team, said the team would look into di Resta's problems to ensure there was no recurrence.
“Paul's race was seriously compromised by a poor getaway, which we will investigate, and that meant we missed out on getting both cars in the points," he said.
While di Resta was not able to show the Force India's true potential during the race, his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg did by driving up from 15th place on the grid to chase Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen to the chequered flag, and holding off Pastor Maldonado in the Williams in order to pick up 6pts.
“If you had told me before the race that we would finish seventh, I would have taken it straight away – so I'm very happy with today's result,” the German said. “I made a great start, moving ahead of several cars and was able to keep out of trouble in turn 1.
“By the end of lap 1, I was already in 8th and as it turned out we had good pace. The car felt strong throughout the race: there was a nice balance and I was able to chase Lewis and Kimi hard and put pressure on them,” he said.
“They edged away towards the end and for the closing laps, I just had to make sure I kept ahead of Maldonado. So another seventh place – a well deserved result for the team after a tough weekend for the mechanics and six important points for the championship,” he concluded.
Fernley praised Hulkenberg's race: “An excellent drive by Nico, and very encouraging to see such strong race pace on a track which has never really played to our strengths”, he said.
"We made the right calls on the strategy, and for much of the race, Nico was up there pushing hard to get ahead of Lewis,” he added. "In terms of the championship, we've edged further ahead of Williams and Sauber remain just about in sight."
Force India are now in seventh place in the constructors championship, 35pts behind Sauber and 23pts ahead of Williams. Di Resta and Hulkenberg are currently 12th and 14th in the drivers championship with 44pts and 37pts respectively.
"Overall, it's been a remarkable team effort”, he said, referring to the incidents both drivers had during the practice sessions that had meant the pit crew had a lot of work on their hands throughout the weekend making repairs. "We kept them very busy and they did an amazing job under difficult conditions."
by Cameron Paterson