Paul di Resta looks on the bright side after missing out on a surprise pole in Belgium
Force India driver has to settle for fifth on the grid instead
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 24/08/13 5:57pm
Di Resta goes close to pole
Paul di Resta is looking on the bright side despite qualifying fifth after appearing favourite for a surprise pole position during a rain-affected qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Force India driver lines up on the third row for Sunday's race but seemed set for P1 after an inspired decision to run intermediate tyres as rain struck the Spa track.
The frontrunners all opted for slicks but as the conditions forced them to tip-toe back to the pits, di Resta had the track to himself and, with the rain worsening, his time of 2:02.332s seemed unbeatable.
Unfortunately for the Scot, however, conditions eased just as he pitted, meaning that he could only watch on helplessly as first Nico Rosberg and then Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and finally Lewis Hamilton all beat his time.
Yet di Resta, whose team are looking to return to their early-season form this weekend having failed to score in the last two races, appeared sanguine when discussing the reversal of fortunes afterwards.
"It is frustrating, but it is one of those things," he told Sky Sports F1."I was sat in the garage and looking at the screens and the engineers said, 'Everyone else is putting mediums on,' and I said, 'No, everyone is putting umbrellas up, let's try something different.'
"It was my call, I am claiming that one.
"We got out there in optimum track conditions, it was a little wet in sector three, but if we had been out at the end with everyone else, we wouldn't be where we are.
"But we'll savour the moment. It's matched our best qualifying position this year and we'll try and do what we can tomorrow and get back to business scoring points," added di Resta, who also qualified fifth in Bahrain.
Force India's recent loss in performance has come as Pirelli have introduced a new tyre construction, but di Resta seems confident they now have a handle on their problems.
Even after taking advantage of the weather on Saturday, he said he would prefer dry conditions for the race. More rain is forecast, however.
"It has definitely pushed us up the grid a bit and it was the right thing to do," di Resta added. "The car seems a lot stronger in the dry - we went through in P8 to Q3 so that is a bonus.
"But we need to work on our wet conditions because it is a bit of a handful, but tomorrow could be dry."