BATHGATE’S Paul di Resta was today in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix 12 months after finishing fourth in the year’s only night-time race.
After the disappointment of Monza a fortnight ago — where he crashed out on the opening lap — the 27-year-old Scot is determined to return to point-scoring form.
Di Resta, who hasn’t finished in the points since his ninth at Silverstone in July, is eager to boost Sahara Force India’s hopes of finishing fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.
“I had a good race in Singapore last year finishing fourth based purely on our race pace,” said Di Resta yesterday. “Our car, traditionally, is good here.
“I’m hoping we’ll optimise the set-up and pick up some good points. It’s a track everybody enjoys and because of the unusual schedule, it’s an interesting race.
“The race starts at 1pm UK time, but we’re seven hours ahead, so for us it’s 8pm in the evening. Like most of the guys, I prefer to keep my watch — and body — on European time. I always go to bed at 6am local time and wake up at 2pm, that’s my routine. It also means we’re having our main dinner around midnight … or later. Day becomes night, and you just make sure you don’t suffer from jet lag.
“I’d love to think we could repeat our fourth place of last year, but it’s going to be tough. Given our form lately, it’s difficult to know what to expect.
“However, it’s crucial for the Constructors’ Championship that we score points. We’re only five points behind McLaren in fifth, so it would be good to leave here having closed the gap, or even moved ahead of them.”
A win for Sebastian Vettel will all but clinch his fourth successive world title. The Red Bull ace heads into the weekend leading the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso by 53 points.
And with only six races left after Singapore, unless Alonso wins, it’s likely Ferrari will throw in the towel and start concentrating fully on the all-new 2014 car.
“I think for the championship, we need to be realistic,” Alonso said.
“It’s still a very big gap and we don’t have enough races and probably not have the speed right now to win some consecutive races.
“We need to be lucky and we need to have some DNFs from Seb or something to win the championship. With the races left and the points disadvantage it is hard.”