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News - Italian GP
Paul: “We’ll take the positives from the weekend”
11 Sep 2012
For Paul Di Resta the Italian GP weekend was one of mixed emotions. Having recorded the best qualifying result of his Sahara Force India career to date with fourth place, he had to drop back to ninth after taking a gearbox penalty.
That made his race a lot tougher than it should have been, but in the end he secured four valuable points with eighth place.
At the start Paul lost out to a highly motivated Fernando Alonso, but he gained a place from Nico Rosberg, and thus retained his ninth place in the early stages. He ran then ran behind Kamui Kobayashi and was somewhat surprised when Sergio Perez in the other Sauber caught and passed both of them.
“His car was in a different world by the looks of it – how quick he was,” says Paul. “For whatever reason, it looks like he had a completely different approach to Kobayashi. I was stuck behind Kamui and was quicker than him. Whereas Perez got past the both of us and disappeared! I think one went for qualifying speed and one went for the race, and we saw what the benefits were for the race option.”
On lap 11 Paul hit a KERS issue, and mindful of the problem that spoiled his day in Belgium, was concerned that his race would again suffer. Fortunately the issue was quickly resolved, but not before he’d lost a place to Mark Webber.
“We lost KERS for one lap, but unfortunately it was the lap Mark was behind me, and he got by me. It was quite a sudden drop out, but thankfully we managed to get it back quickly, and it ran smoothly from there on.”
Paul rose up to seventh as others pitted before making his single stop for the hard tyres on lap 21. He dropped back to 15th, before regaining places as the pit stop sequence played out for those ahead.
Paul found the car much better on the harder tyre and he kept up a good pace, shadowing Webber for much of the second half of the race. He moved ahead when the Aussie spun, but in the closing laps lost out to the Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Schumacher, both drivers having made an extra stop for new tyres that gave them extra speed. Nevertheless, eighth was a good reward.
“I was fairly confident that we could carry out the one-stop, and we did it, as did a lot of other cars. It was obviously the right strategy to be on.
“Had we started fourth I think we would have been able to beat the Mercedes, because we would obviously have been further up. But unfortunately we were on that zone where their two-stop just beat us at the end. Our race pace on the hard was quite reasonable, the Mercedes at the end just had that second pit stop, and they had bit more speed than us.
“We were definitely struggling at the beginning, but we got stronger as the race went on. But we’re happy enough coming away with the points we’ve got. The only downside was what Perez scored so well.”
Paul says the race provided a valuable lesson: “We were strong at the end, but you need to be strong throughout the race. We’ve got some work to do ahead of Singapore. We’ll take the positives from the weekend and try and analyse where we can improve.”