Paul Di Resta Q&A: Briton disappointed at narrowly missing out on Bahrain podium
However, fourth equals Force India driver's best result
By William Esler and Mike Wise
Last Updated: 22/04/13 4:21pm
That was a fantastic result for you, equalling your best result in F1, but at the same time you were so close to a podium - what are your emotions?
Paul Di Resta: "As a team I think we have to congratulate everyone - the performance this weekend has been good and we will go away with positive notes from it. We got caught out by a driver [Grosjean] who didn't qualify where he should have and had four sets of new tyres to do a three-stop race - that would have been the fastest way of any car had you had those tyres.
"He had the tyre life to do it, but there were strengths in the Grand Prix to pick up on. I probably could have been a bit more aggressive at times, but it is a lot of points and a solid job. When you can take advantage of the misfortune of the Ferraris and beat McLaren on outright pace, it is a crucial point for us."
Was there anything you could have done differently to have got on the podium?
PDR: "Maybe the last tyre choice, but I would definitely have made the same choice again given the information we had at the time. You can always say on the two-stop you are compromised as slower cars got in front of us after their first stops and then after my first stop, I was stuck behind them for 12 laps losing time. But you just have to bite your teeth - it was definitely the right strategy for us and on another day we would probably have got a podium out of it.
"We should take a huge amount of credit from the first four grands prix, but the team are going to have to work hard and bring updates if they want this podium - they are going to have to work more for it than we are."
Bob Fernley said there was a bit of disappointment as it was a case of so near, yet so far - do you share that?
PDR: "Yeah I do. They want a podium - well give me a faster car and I will get a podium! So if they work a bit harder in the design office and we get some more resources there is no reason we cannot do it. As a team we are performing to our maximum capacity, it is just a case of getting that bit more to give us a bit more comfort at the end of races and to get us in the position in qualifying every week to do that."
Has the team got the resources to do that?
PDR: "It is certainly punching about its weight at the moment, it is a midfield team. You cannot say we are a team the same as McLaren. I have been part of this team for many years now and it has grown, but it takes years and years to get comfortable doing it and it will take a few more years yet. But when we get this car in the operating window, it is strong and we need to engineer that week in and week out."
The result moves you above McLaren in the Constructors' Championship which must be a nice feeling after the first four flyaway races.
PDR: "It is and given that we lost a grand prix [in Malaysia, when the team had problems with their wheel-nuts], we are very strong and it is all there. But we know McLaren are going to bounce back - they have a huge amount of resources and they don't lie down, but we will keep pushing as much as we can. It is going to be an enjoyable couple of weeks, but we will arrive in Barcelona with a lot of work to do and we will be praying that the sun is out and shinning quite hard."
Do you think you got something more out of the car this weekend or do you think there is something track specific about why it went so well?
PDR: "I think that is where we would have been in Malaysia, so we can tell the car is performing well when it is hot. We cannot put our finger on it - we were quicker in the race in China when it was cooler, but not so quick in qualifying when it was warmer. We can't put our finger on it, but when you get in the right operating window, it makes a big difference. You can see that up and down the paddock - we were a second off pole, but the car that started first finished ninth."
Did you have a point to prove this year given how last season ended?
PDR: "Not so much a point to prove, but I had convinced myself that nothing was going right at the end of that year and nothing was going to go right. Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong, we just needed a fresh start and I don't see any more that we could have done so far and we will keep doing it.
"In Melbourne we had a strong race, in China we had a strong race, we were on course for a strong race in Malaysia and we have had another good weekend (in Bahrain) so we just need to keep rolling on. We have some new bits coming for Barcelona which will be quite exciting if they work, but not all the teams are sleeping and I am not going to get carried away. I will go away and think about it for two weeks."
Do you think the pecking order will change in Barcelona when the teams introduce their update packages?
PDR: "I suppose the one that is going to be the big one is McLaren - where are they going to be and if it will make a huge difference? But we have new bits that didn't work quite right [here] so we are going to optimise them as well as bringing new stuff.
"I think these cars are so close to their potential that it is hard to find that small bit. Probably us concentrating very hard on winter testing and not bringing any new parts to the final test and just concentrating on what we have did make the difference."