Timely result for di Resta
Force India driver's stock set to rise after best-ever finish
By Mike Wise in Singapore. Last Updated: September 23, 2012 9:07pm
Paul di Resta chose the perfect moment to deliver the best result of his Formula 1 career to date - a fourth place - at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Starting sixth on the grid, the Scot chased home World Championship leader Fernando Alonso at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The result also boosted Force India's aspirations in the constructors' standings but after the race all attentions were focused on the 26-year-old.
Like all the other frontrunners, di Resta's result was boosted by the retirement of race leader Lewis Hamilton - the future whereabouts of whom could well impact on those of his fellow Briton.
Well-regarded by McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, di Resta also has long-term backing from Mercedes-Benz.
With his Italian heritage, di Resta has also been mentioned as a possible team-mate alongside Alonso at Ferrari in 2013.
The rumour mill appears set to keep churning for the moment but di Resta's latest performance will certainly have done his prospects no harm whatsoever.
"I'm happier than I ever have been with what's going on around me, so obviously something's clicking into place," he said after Sunday's race.
"I like to think that I'm capable of stepping up to one of these bigger teams. There's some drivers about - I've raced against some of them at the top, I've had great battles with them and I've beaten them.
"I'm not getting carried away. When the time is right, hopefully someone will step up and give me the chance to do that because I want to be in a car that's winning races.
"I've worked with manufacturers before and there is a slight difference. I'll keep focusing on the job in hand just now because this is where my loyalties lie at present."
Di Resta performed strongly throughout in Singapore, even passing Alonso briefly off the line.
With the race featuring two safety car periods, he lined up behind the double World Champion for the second with fresher tyres - an eventuality which briefly raised the prospect of a podium finish.
As it turned out, Alonso was able to pull clear. Yet di Resta said he would have preferred a podium on merit than rely on another retirement besides Hamilton's.
"I would much rather do it driving and beating them, as opposed to something reliability," he added.
"(But) fourth place, as long as it goes one better and one better again...the dream is to get on the podium and then the dream is to get a win."