Impressive Di Resta narrowly misses podium

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Sahara Force India’s Paul Di Resta narrowly missed out on finishing on the podium in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, write Colin and James Beckett.

The highly-rated Scottish racer drove a controlled race to move his car into contention for a top three placing by mid-distance, and it was only the wear of his car’s tyres in the closing stages that prevented him from joining Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen on the top three steps of the podium after the fall of the chequered flag.

Di Resta said: “I am really pleased for the team, and for myself, but I can’t help but feel just slightly disappointed.

“How can I really be disappointed with a fourth place finish in a Grand Prix though?”

The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team were in good shape throughout the race weekend, and it was only an early race puncture that prevented the team’s second driver, Adrian Sutil, from being able to challenge for a strong points haul.

Sutil’s pit stop to replace his damaged tyre cost him valuable time and eventually the German crossed the finish-line in 13th.

He said afterwards: “It was a race of what might have been for me.”

The Mercedes season continued its current upward trend when Nico Rosberg stormed to pole position in his Brackley-based Silver Arrow.

Concerned about tyre degradation throughout the race, Rosberg dropped to ninth at the end but his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, surged during the closing stages to finish fifth.

Hamilton said: “I am really chuffed. The car seems to be getting better and better, and although we are not quite on the pace of the others at the front during the race we are close enough to keep scoring good points.”

Daniel Ricciardo finished 16th for the part-Bicester based Toro Rosso squad with his STR8-Ferrari car, although his French team-mate, Jean-Eric Vergne, failed to finish when his car overheated during the early part of the race.

At the front end of the race, Sebastian Vettel maintained his grip on the 2013 FIA F1 World Championship by claiming victory.

His championship lead is now 10 points over Kimi Raikkonen, who finished in second position.

Standings after round four: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 77; 2. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 67; 3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 50; 4. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 47; 5. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 32; 6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 30. Next race: Spain, Circuit de Catalunya, May 12.