Paul di Resta says Force India pushing to keep advantage over McLaren in Chinese GP
But Scot expecting more of a challenge by Bahrain
Last Updated: 02/04/13 4:16pm
The Silverstone-based team proved the quickest of the grid's perennial midfielders in the opening couple of flyaway rounds, and although they suffered their first double retirement for two seasons in Malaysia owing to wheelnut issues at pitstops, they head into next week's third round aiming to consolidate fifth place in the Constructors' Championship.
That position is currently two places and six points better off than underperforming McLaren, although the former World Champions made strides forward with their troublesome MP4-28 at the second race in Sepang.
With the Woking team using the current break between races to bring further improvements to their car, di Resta acknowledges it will be increasingly tough for the smaller Force India operation to stave off their bigger rival for long.
"We've proven where we are at the moment, but whether we will be in that position after the next two will be hard," di Resta said.
"I've a lot of respect for what McLaren do. Although they are struggling at the moment, they can develop.
"But we will be pushing to stay in front of them. Our performance so far has been far better than people expected, far better than people could probably overhaul in two weeks."
Although Force India experienced one of their least competitive weekends of the whole season in China last year, the year before saw di Resta qualify in eighth place.
Now ahead of his third appearance at Shanghai circuit, the Scot is hopeful of a similar top-ten result this time round.
"Despite what happened in Malaysia we took very good positives from the weekend through our performance, so I'm looking forward to China and Bahrain," he added.
"I'd like to think we'd have some more knowledge on our car to make it quicker, although China is a different philosophy compared to what we have experienced so far this season.
"But we had a good car there two years ago, and there is no reason why we can't go there and repeat that."