Damage limitation for Di Resta
Strong qualifying performance for Scot after gearbox change
By Mike Wise at Monza. Last Updated: September 9, 2012 8:56am
Paul di Resta is optimistic he can reproduce his strong qualifying performance in the Italian Grand Prix, even with the hit of a gearbox penalty.
The Force India driver knew coming into qualifying that he faced a five-place grid demotion after his team had to replace his race gearbox ahead of Saturday morning's final practice session.
Yet di Resta ended that session third fastest and was able to limit the damage when qualifying got underway.
The Scot's name featured regularly throughout the three sessions and it therefore came as little surprise when he set the fourth fastest time in the top-10 shootout.
"What was nice about it was that each time we went out on track, we were able to keep improving, improving, improving," di Resta said. "Even in Q1 it was quite strange how long the session was: we came in from a run in P4 and they said 'okay we're confident we're going to be through so sit in the garage'.
"It was nice to go out and do two runs in Q2 as opposed to one that's proper. The nice thing as well is that not everyone went quicker in Q3; we managed to."
Di Resta's penalty places him ninth on the grid but he remains hopeful he can make ground in the race, even though some of the cars immediately ahead of him, such as the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull, are expected to show more strongly in the race than they did in qualifying.
"We've got to start ninth, but if there's any day you need a result like that to influence your race and put you in a points position then it was today because it still put us in the top 10. We're starting in the points, so we really just need to look ahead," the 26-year-old said.
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"The speed is there, we just hope we can do it on high fuel because we have been at a slight disadvantage to the people around us in the race. But I'm certainly not ruling out tomorrow that that's going to be the case."
A feature of the Italian Grand Prix in years past has been the tendency for cars to collide at the first chicane on the opening lap.
Di Resta added: "The first corner's obviously the focus point, if we get through that. A good launch is what you need.
"We'll take it step-by-step, it's not obviously won at the beginning of the race, it's won at the end.
"I think that Monza's normally very hard on the cars and it's certainly going to be hard on the tyres with the heat and the track temperature the way it is."