Paul di Resta not downbeat over being denied his maiden F1 podium in Bahrain
Scot enjoys most competitive performance with Force India
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 21/04/13 6:59pm
Paul di Resta shrugged off any disappointment at narrowly missing out on a maiden Formula 1 podium finish to focus on the positives of what he hailed as a "big day" for Force India at Sakhir.
Having started from his joint-best grid position of fifth for Sunday's race, di Resta immediately joined the fight for the top-three positions at the lights and moved into third position on lap six after passing the struggling Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
The Scot even led the grand prix for three laps after running a longer first stint but as the race progressed he was gradually reeled in by the fast-charging Lotuses, first being overtaken by the similarly two-stopping Kimi Raikkonen, and then with five laps to go by the three-stopping Romain Grosjean, who was equipped with fresher tyres.
However, speaking to Sky Sports F1 alongside team boss Vijay Mallya after equaling his career-best result of fourth, di Resta was philosophical about the nature of the late disappointment and stressed the importance of the 12-point haul to Force India's season.
"I think you've got to be very happy with what we've achieved here," he said.
"Narrowly missing the podium but essentially what's caused us not finishing on the podium is someone [Grosjean] qualifying out of position and having four new sets of tyres to do a three-stop race.
"We maybe could have been a bit more aggressive with strategy but when you're in these positions these points are crucial to us at the end of the season. When you can beat the likes of McLaren, the Ferraris, and pick up on their misfortunes, it's a big day.
"Given we didn't score points in Malaysia when we were in a strong position, the first four races have been very good for a team like ourselves."
And in obvious reference to his incisive early pass on polesitter Rosberg, di Resta added: "We've had a strong grand prix passing cars that have been winning grands prix."
Mallya was naturally quick to praise his driver's performance in the face of strong competition, even if he expressed slight regret that they hadn't been able to hang on to what would have been just the second podium finish of his tenure.
"Paul drove an outstanding race," the Force India co-owner declared.
"I'm very glad we have been able to beat the big teams - it's not always that you can beat the McLarens, the Mercedes and the Ferraris - but we've shown with the resources we have we can improve year on year.
"We've had a flying start during this season, 26 points from four races and not scoring in Malaysia, and so, yes, fourth position was a great position today.
"But I was hoping and praying we would actually get the podium."