Spare a thought for Paul di Resta this weekend; the Scot finds himself in an unenviable position going into qualifying and the race after his car was crashed in Friday morning practice at Valencia by reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg. Di Resta did only three times laps at the end of the second session.
It puts Di Resta at quite a serious disadvantage, as he has not been able to do any set up work, nor assess the new medium Pirelli tyre.
As it’s a street circuit, he also has the problem of building up to the limit, where having those 90 minutes on Friday make a big difference when assessing how much risk to take. And he cannot dip into a database of knowledge from last season as he only did nine laps of the circuit last year.
Di Resta acknowledges that it’s a double edged sword, as without Force India’s policy of letting the reserve driver run on Friday mornings, he might not be where he is today. He performed the Friday role last season,
“It makes things tricky, but it benefited me last year being a rookie to the championship this year,” said the Scot. “It’s a team policy and I went along with it. It has not hampered me too much up to now and hopefully it won’t hamper me this weekend.
“It’s a risk. How do you tell somebody that you’ve just crashed their race car? I’ve crashed cars in the past that haven’t been mine, but not before another driver gets into the car for FP2 to prepare for a race. It’s a hard thing to accept but there’s not much that can be done.”
Di Resta needed a good result this weekend, he scored points in the first two race and hasn’t scored since. In Montreal a mistake near the end cost him another strong finish and more points.
But as with all moments of adversity, it is also an opportunity for Di Resta to show what he can do with his back to the wall. His comparison this weekend with Adrian Sutil will be even more interesting than usual. So far he’s done pretty well; he’s six to one up against Sutil in qualifying and where they’ve both finished the race he’s three to two up against the German.
Give me your predictions of what you think the margin will be in qualifying between them today and in whose favour.
EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX, Valencia, Friday Practice 2
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.968s 35
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m38.195s + 0.227 26
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m38.265s + 0.297 31
4. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.315s + 0.347 30
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.443s + 0.475 32
6. Jenson Button McLaren 1m38.483s + 0.515 30
7. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m38.531s + 0.563 26
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.981s + 1.013 33
9. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m39.040s + 1.072 35
10. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m39.586s + 1.618 27
11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m39.626s + 1.658 31
12. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m40.020s + 2.052 34
13. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m40.301s + 2.333 34
14. Paul di Resta Force India 1m40.363s + 2.395 7
15. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m40.454s + 2.486 32
16. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m40.531s + 2.563 37
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m42.083s + 4.115 34
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m42.156s + 4.188 39
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m42.239s + 4.271 25
20. Timo Glock Virgin 1m42.273s + 4.305 21
21. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m42.809s + 4.841 36
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m44.460s + 6.492 29
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m46.906s + 8.938 16