Bathgate’s Paul di Resta was unceremoniously speared out of the Belgian Grand Prix when the Williams of Pastor Maldonado T-boned the Scot’s Sahara Force India.
Di Resta had started the race at Spa-Francorchamps from fifth, and despite slipping to tenth had fought his way back to seventh. After his final scheduled pitstop, and as he was poised to move well into the top ten and score important world championship points for the team, he was taken out by the Venezuelan. As Di Resta swept past Maldonado on the outside of the left-hand corner — which forms the second part of the Bus Stop chicane — the Williams driver steered straight for the pits after damaging his front wing having collided with the left-rear of Adrian Sutil’s Force India.
Unaware that the Scot was in the process of passing him, he T-boned Di Resta’s car, lifting it clean off the ground and ripping off the left-rear wheel.
The collision also caused substantial damage to the whole rear section of Di Resta’s car, forcing his early retirement.
“Pastor missed the first apex, which Adrian and I got,” said Di Resta, “and then when we went for the cutback, he decided he wanted to go to the pits, which was a bit risky given where he was positioned on the track at that point.“Obviously it’s a huge disappointment for the team that we weren’t able to go on and score the points I believe we were capable of scoring.”
Maldonado was later given a ten-second top/go penalty.
The race was dominated by the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, who powered ahead of the Mercedes of polesitter Lewis Hamilton at the start of the opening lap.
While Hamilton eventually had to content himself with third, 27.734 seconds behind the Red Bull, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who finished second, he showed he could mount a late challenge for the title. The Spaniard powered through from ninth on the grid to finish second, and heads to the next race at Monza confident his team has rediscovered its pace.
“I am happy with the feeling we had this weekend, and with the parts we brought here,” Alonso, now 46 points behind Vettel, said.
“Obviously we lost seven points, but when Red Bull are dominating the weekend, then you need to aim for maximum points.
“On weekends like this one we need to extract the maximum from the car, and that’s what we did.”