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Force India's Paul di Resta admits he is under pressure to perform in 2013

But Scottish driver says he is fitter than ever

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 07/03/13 9:38am

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Paul di Resta admits the pressure is on him this year as he prepares for his third year in Formula 1 but says he is fitter than ever.

The 26-year-old stepped up to F1 three seasons ago after winning the DTM title in 2010, alongside eight first practice outings with Force India that year.

However, the Scot has been outperformed by team-mates Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg during his two seasons with the Silverstone-based outfit.

Di Resta had much less experience to draw on than Sutil possessed in 2011 but could not rely on rookie status when he partnered Hulkenberg last year.

Returning after a season as Force India's reserve, the German came on strong during the closing races of 2012. Although di Resta earned the best result of his career to date, a fourth place, in Singapore, he struggled thereafter and crashed out of the season finale in Brazil - a race Hulkenberg had led for a time.

"Of course, there is pressure on me this year," said di Resta, who partners Sutil again in 2013.

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"It's my third year in Formula 1, but as always, nobody puts pressure on me to do well like I do on myself.

"For whatever reason nothing went the right way at the end of last season. Essentially you always remember the end of a year more than the beginning, and with my crash as well.

"There were some good drives, some good pace, but it just never worked out. I've been through times like that where you just need to dig deep, and eventually you get out of it. Hopefully this year will be the year."

Di Resta says he has been training hard for the new season and has even joined in Jenson Button's bike rides around the streets of Monte Carlo.

"Monaco is my home, and essentially I've made a lot of good friends down there, with Jenson part of a group in which we all get on well - it's nice we can go out and train together," said di Resta.

"We'll still have that competitiveness at the track, but it's good we have developed a friendship where we can go out and knock ideas off, and even talk about our personal lives.

"I'm sure at the track we'll probably train together a little this year, and he is very fit.

"He obviously has this desire to do triathlons, whereas I can't run. I can't really take it.

"I do different things. I mix it up - swimming, rowing, cycling, weights - because you can get very bored and get out of the zone.

"I'm now seeing the difference. In January I trained on 27 of the 31 days. I have definitely lifted it another level, which is good."

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