Bathgate’s Paul di Resta endured a frustrating Japanese Grand Prix after the clutch on his Sahara Force India broke at the start of the 53-lap race.
The 26-year-old Scot, who lined up 11th, slipped to almost last place by the time the 24 cars had reached the first corner.
“My engineers were on the radio and it was obvious we had a problem with the clutch,” said Di Resta. “Our concerns were that it was going to break as soon as we fed the power through – and that’s exactly what happened.”
Ironically, Di Resta’s leisurely start meant he wasn’t involved in the multiple accidents which happened at the first corner.
World championship leader Fernando Alonso spun out in his Ferrari after being clipped by the Lotus of Kimi Raikonen.
The incident also accounted for the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, and in a separate crash, Romain Grosjean ploughed into the rear of Mark Webber’s Red Bull with his Lotus.
Di Resta battled on but despite pushing constantly, he could only manage 12th.
Defending world champ Sebastian Vettel took full advantage of Alonso’s misfortune to win for the third time in four races. The victory moves the German to within four points of Alonso in the race for the title with just five races remaining.
Alonso’s Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa finished second, while Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber came home in third position to became only the third Japanese driver to finish on the podium.