Paul di Resta believes that he had his “strongest ever race” in Bahrain today to finish 4th, equaling his best result in the sport.
The Force India driver started the race in 5th, and after a good start he was up to P2 once Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa had fallen back.
On a two-stop strategy, di Resta was battling with Kimi Raikkonen throughout the race after leader Sebastian Vettel stormed ahead at the front, but he could not stay in front following their second and final stops.
Just as di Resta looked set to score Force India’s second podium finish in their history, Romain Grosjean made a late switch to soft tires in order to pass the British driver with a few laps remaining. The battle between Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber further back meant that di Resta then went unchallenged to finish in P4, matching his result from the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix.
“I was always going to be vulnerable on that strategy, but it was probably the strongest race I’ve had,” di Resta explained to Maurice Hamilton.
Team owner Vijay Mallya was quick to offer di Resta his congratulations.
“Paul di Resta of Sahara Force India narrowly misses podium. Finishes 4th in Bahrain F1 Grand Prix.Drove superbly but lost out to newer tyres,” Mallya tweeted soon after the race.
“Sahara Force India now has 26 championship points frm just 4 races. Best season start ever.”
Indeed, this is the best start the team has ever made, and they currently lie 6th in the constructors’ championship ahead of McLaren, Toro Rosso and Sauber.
di Resta’s performance was one of the stand-out drives, and with Adrian Sutil lapping quickly at the back, the team could have secured a strong double-score had the German driver not been hit on the first lap of the race.