Di Resta impresses on F1 returnposted in F130 | 07 | 2017

    SCOT PAUL DI RESTA impressed on his last-minute return to Formula 1, deputising for the unwell Felipe Massa at the Hungarian Grand Prix, and hinted he’d love to make a full-time return to grand prix racing. (Related: Scot Paul di Resta back in F1 action)

    In his role as Williams serve driver, the 31-year-old from Bathgate — who continues to race in DTM with Mercedes — only received the call to replace Massa 90-minutes before Saturday’s qualifying.

    But despite having not driven a modern-day hybrid F1 racer, Di Resta led the two Saubers early in the 70-lap race, despite a slow getaway, and matched Williams team-mate Lance Stroll’s times.

    Frustratingly for the Scot, his race was cut short seven laps before the end when his car suffered an oil leak and the team told him they had to retire his #40 Williams.

    “Of course I would much rather have got to the end of the race rather than it be retired with the small technical issue we had,” Di Resta admitted shortly after retiring, “but that’s racing.

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    “We had a bit of an oil leak and it was a fresh engine for this weekend, so I fully understand and agree that the team didn’t want to be taking engine penalties in the second-half of the season.

    “The team are working on the car now and they’re unsure what the problem actually is, so it even took them by surprise.

    “I had the pace to comfortably stay ahead of the two Saubers in the first half of the race, then after my pitstop I backed off to give myself some space without the turbulence from the rear of their cars.

    “The other thing was, at one point when i came out the pits I probably could have got passed Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber if I’d just been a little bit quicker on a button we use to get a little bit more power in another engine mode, but I didn’t expect to get that much of a slipstream down the straight.

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    “Then he was  bit naughty and kind of pushed me towards the grass. I guess that’s for old times sakes during our time in DTM.”

    And Di Resta — who not only had never driven the Williams-Mercedes FW40 before qualifying, but had not sampled the car in the Williams simulator since before March's Australian Grand Prix — admitted the only discomfort he had was in his shoulder.

    “I’ve got a sore shoulder — just where it rubs on the seat — but that’s about it,” he revealed, after 63 laps of what is accepted as being one of the most physically challenging races on the F1 calendar.

    “But that’s to be expected the first time after you do a day in a car and you kind of get to grips with it. But I don’t actually feel too bad. It wasn’t quite as tough as I thought it would be.”

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    And he explained the reasons behind his relatively slow getaway at the start of the race.

    “I hadn’t done a start until half-an-hour before the race and I just dumped the clutch too much,” he explained, “which resulted in a slow getaway from the line.

    “You’ve got to get it perfect into a specific time window and I was just a bit too slow. I was a very cautious anyway; your spacial awareness with these cars and knowing where the others are is very difficult.

    “I just wanted to make sure I got through the first lap and used every bit of valuable time I had in that car to my best.

    “The most difficult part of the Race? Being around 19 other guys. Yesterday was a whole different ball game in qualifying. When you’re out there on your own you can concentrate on your own position and gain confidence.

    “But when you’ve got 19 other guys all fighting for the same bit of road, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. And I haven’t driven a car like that with so much downforce for such a long time.

    “”It’s no secret I want to be back in a Formula 1 car, but at the very least I hope I've showed I'm a reliable reserve driver kicking around the paddock.”

    Related: Vettel wins Hungary GP, Hamilton fourth

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    Jim McGill

     

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