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Exclusive Q&A - Force India’s Paul di Resta 25 Jul 2013

Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Hungaroring, Hungary. Thursday, 25 July 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Silverstone, England, Day Two, Thursday, 18 July 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Silverstone, England, Day One, Wednesday, 17 July 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 28 June 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Silverstone, England, Day One, Wednesday, 17 July 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 29 June 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 12 April 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 21 April 2013

Luck hasn’t always been on Paul di Resta’s side this season, but as is the norm for the highly-regarded Scot, he has consistently made the best of things, proving his worth with a superb fourth place in Bahrain and point-scoring drives in all bar two rounds, often from less than representative grid positions. We caught up with the Force India star in Budapest to get his thoughts on the coming weekend, his 2013 campaign to date and his plans for the future…

Q: Paul, since Mark Webber announced his departure from F1 racing there has been endless talk about driver moves. What is your part in this matter? Where do you believe the grass is greener?
Paul di Resta:
I have no idea! (laughs) From what I hear Kimi (Raikkonen) and Daniel (Ricciardo) are up for the Red Bull cockpit and that, of course, is something that you are very interested in as a driver, but for me I have to say that it is business as normal: working hard to get a reputation in Formula One and put yourself in a position that team principals know that they can rely on you and your skills. Given how it worked so far this season for Force India, I am very excited for the remainder of it…

Q: Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said that a lot of drivers have been knocking at his door enquiring about a vacancy should Kimi leave - have you been one of them?
PdR:
Ha! To tell you the truth, my management team is looking at what is best for me to move forward. Next year will be a big year given that the regulations are changing so much, so you have to put yourself in a good position. So far it has been quite good for me, but I have to focus on keeping that up and keep proving that I can deliver.

Q: You are ninth in the standings - in front of Jenson Button - which doesn’t seem too bad. But looking at your season race by race, it could have been much better. Is fate not on your side?
PdR:
I think that where we are in the standings is pretty cool, given the fact of the wheel nut issue in Malaysia and the three unfortunate qualifying sessions where we were extremely unfortunate - but that’s racing life! And I am sure people can look by and see it. But one thing that I see is that my race pace is very strong - coming from the back at three races in a row and scoring points. The reward was very high on these Sunday afternoons after the disappointment the day before.

Q: What would be your mid-season report?
PdR:
Definitely positive. It was the best start into a Formula One season the team has ever had. As a team we are definitely punching above our weight compared to some of our rivals.

Q: What about qualifying? It seems to be part of your weekend that is jinxed…
PdR:
It was decisions - it wasn’t qualifying. It was just unfortunate. If you look at the Silverstone qualifying - P5 in Silverstone with a Sahara Force India car - that was quite remarkable and showed our speed. And then we were one kilo underweight. And that one kilo didn’t make a difference. What I am saying is that we have done some good stuff in qualifying this year as well, so I wouldn’t say that it is one of the low points. But one of the big strengths has been racing consistency. The team really has stepped up - understanding the car was key, as it is only an evolution of the car we had last year - and look at the difference!

Q: How was that Silverstone experience: your home race, a fantastic qualifying, and then one kilo missing and the whole effort’s worth nothing?
PdR:
Well, after the two qualifyings before at least I could prove what I can do so nobody can take away P5 for what it was. It was all fair. That one kilo wouldn’t have made any difference - the time would maybe have been two-hundredths slower so no change. We did a great job and were unfortunate that we had to come from the very back. And we finished in P9. Imagine what we could have done starting from P5! You don’t have to do the math to understand that it could have been a fantastic result.

Q: It’s your third F1 season so you must have an idea where you want to head to?
PdR:
I want to win races and win championships - that simple. That’s what I want - wherever I can make this come true. It’s been a long time since I was on the podium - the longest absence from it in my whole career - so I definitely want to get back there. But I understand the position I am in at the moment and I am working as hard as I ever have.

Q: So there is still the dream of championship glory in your head?
PdR:
Yes, I like to think so. It is in my head, definitely. It is something I’d like to achieve - absolutely.

Q: Force India, as you just said, are clearly punching above their weight. Will it continue? The prediction was that McLaren would bounce back sooner, but they haven’t, so is it realistic for Force India to finish the season in P5?
PdR:
I think it is realistic. It will depend if McLaren are able to achieve more than they have been so far - and I don’t seen them doing anything special right now. McLaren have clearly underperformed, but given the reputation that they have - a championship-winning team - we will have a fight on our hands. But our boys are also working very hard - whether that will be enough we will see. I definitely hope it will be.

Q: You smelled the podium in Bahrain. When will that sweet smell of success come again?
PdR:
Yeah, it was very close in Bahrain. But to be honest I wasn’t disappointed after the race because a fourth place for this team made for a better atmosphere than there was at Red Bull after the race. It was a special day back than - also special as it was so early in the season.

Q: Where would you say this chance will come again, looking at the tracks we are heading to in the second half of the season?
PdR:
In F1 nothing and everything is realistic. Take 2012. After the summer break we had a really strong run until the end of the season, so my guess is that Spa, Monza and Singapore - these three tracks should suit us.

Q: So what was going on at the last race at Nurburgring?
PdR:
I hope Nurburgring was just a case of the car not liking the track! (laughs) It was a difficult weekend as we underestimated the laps for pitting by two or three to be able to score points again. We came away telling ourselves that we nearly did it so we shouldn’t change too much. When we leave here on Monday we should have a better idea where the journey will take us until the last race.

Q: It seems to be a case of ‘the warmer the better’ for the Force India - is that so?
PdR:
Yes. We’ve booked those announced 37 degrees for Sunday!

Q: You tested the revised tyres at Silverstone last week - will they help Force India to stay in P5?
PdR:
Well, the new tyres are pretty similar to what we had so far. At the end of the day we were very restricted on what we could do. We helped Pirelli to understand the tyre demands for the rest of the year - and the team felt it best to use me for that. So not much data in our bags, which means that tomorrow will be a busy day and push the tyres to the limit.

Q: Will Force India introduce major updates for the next couple of races after the summer break?
PdR:
It is team philosophy not to speak about any update schedule, but I think we are no different to all other teams in that we slowly but steadily start to focus on next year’s car.

Q: What do you expect for the weekend in terms of pecking order?
PdR:
I hope this track will mix up the pecking order - and that it is a good chance for us to shine. Hot as hell, and making the tyres last - that could be our ideal mixture for a good weekend.

Q: What would Paul di Resta be happy with at the end of the season. Staying P9 in the standings - or even moving forward?
PdR:
If I stayed ninth I would be ecstatic. It’s hard - but not impossible.

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