Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, August 24th, 2013 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Wet qualifying sessions can often result in unlikely grid orders and so it was in Spa, with Paul di Resta reversing recent patchy form for him and his team by claiming fifth on the grid. This was a result of bucking the trend of most of his rivals by starting the final qualifying session on intermediate tyres as rain began to fall, while most others started out on slicks.
And after qualifying di Resta insisted this decision had been all his own: "It was a ballsy decision and it was basically me that done it, the team was saying, 'We’re going to go out on slicks like everybody else' while I said 'let’s get it on, look at the screens, people are putting umbrellas up, putting cagoules on.'"
For a time it looked like di Resta might have done even better by claiming an audacious and unlikely pole position, as he was at the top of the times before eleventh hour improvement by more established runners. Di Resta said though that he wasn’t too disappointed with the outcome: "(There was) a small glimpse (of hope for pole) I suppose, based the way the weather was…Unfortunately a shower caught me in the last sector when I was on my lap and then it cleared the track…the intensity wasn't enough for what we thought.
"But we still got the conditions the best we could and that’s why we ended up P5. We wouldn’t have been there if we’d went out any later, the call was the thing that put us there."
Di Resta also does not believe that improving on fifth place in the race is likely: "I think it’s unrealistic, it’s more about staying in your position and losing as little ground as possible. Four or five races ago I would have said yes we could have thought about that. But where we’ve been recently you’ve just got to take it lap by lap and try to run it as best as you can."
He is looking for points tomorrow though, and thinks he will be hard for rivals to pass: "We’ve got a strong car in sector 1 and sector 3 and not so strong in sector 2, but the passing gets done in the other ones so if we’ve got wide elbows and if it’s dry then we can maybe get a glimpse at some points again."
The Scotsman was nevertheless positive that, while the recent tyre construction changes had indeed hampered his Force India’s pace, the team was getting on top of the problem: "The balance was quite strong in Q2 to get us into Q3, and getting through only seven tenths off was massively important…I think we’ve clearly found a direction which helped. I’m not going to lie, the construction change has hampered us more than any other team."
Di Resta was also hopeful that his qualifying result could help him find a drive further up the grid for 2014, stating, "It’s always important to do things like that…it’s no secret that you want to get your reputation high."