F1: Di Resta blames Safety Car for disappointing finish

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BATHGATE’S Paul di Resta was left feeling disappointed after the appearance of the Safety Car wrecked his debut appearance in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old, who was fifth at one stage, having started the 53-lap race at Suzuka from 12th on the grid, dropped back over the closing laps as his tyres lost grip. “The Safety Car definitely ruined our race,” said Di Resta, who had scored in three of the previous four grands prix behind the wheel of his Force India VJM04.

“I’d settled into a good rhythm, but the Safety Car spoilt our strategy simply because that was intended to be our fastest part of the race.

“While it hampered us, it definitely helped the cars making two stops because they caught us in the final laps and it was very hard to defend.

“I’d been running comfortably in the points, which are crucial in our fight for sixth place in the constructors’ championship, but as soon as the tyres went off I struggled.”

Six laps from the end, Di Resta lost places, first to his team-mate Adrian Sutil, followed quickly by Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. But the Scot was able to resist the consistent pressure put on him from Kamui Kobayasi’s Sauber, and the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari.

“It’s certainly not where I’d hoped to finish, especially after the blinding start I made to the race,” said Di Resta. “My start was awesome. I went to the outside and jumped up four places, getting ahead of both the Renaults and Kobayashi. So to finish where I did is disappointing.”

And while McLaren’s Jenson Button won the race, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the happiest man on the podium was Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. The 24-year-old’s third place was enough to seal his second successive world championship.

“It is difficult to know where to start,” Vettel, now F1’s youngest double world champion, said.

“Obviously it is such a long year and we had a fantastic year, and the best thing is it is not over yet.”