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Friday practice: Di Resta caught out by the perils of lending your car out
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jun 2011   |  8:25 am GMT  |  25 comments

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

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He should stop moaning and figure out how good life is.


How is what he is saying moaning its showing a pragmatic approach to a team situation and shows as a rookie he has a good head on his shoulders


di resta 0.250 faster than sutil


Schumacher was amazing: how he found the time to exercise his franchise during a Grand Prix weekend is beyond me!


hi James, great stuff, as always.

would suggest to put some format to the time sheet, at least tab between name, team, and time.

can’t read as it is now.


Sutil 0.258 sec faster than Di Resta


Sutil will out qualify him by .1998


I know di Resta’s way into F1 invovled him driving on Fridays and Hulkenberg is worth taking a chance on, but the point is, the Friday driver has to put his money’s worth in. It seems a bit mad to have Hulkenberg in di Resta’s car too, when it’s Sutil who has the experience. Oh well. After the hoopla about di Resta at the start of the year, its all died down a little. I hope he can get back on track – in my opinion he’s Scotland’s best driver since McNish.


Di Resta faster by 0.065


It is interesting to observe that after the recent rule changes a Ferrari and a McLaren driver emerged on top of the fastest Red Bull. Maybe from now on the season will go downhill for RBR, thanks to the new rule changes?


PdR faster by 0,187 ; )


I’d say that di Resta will beat Sutil by 0.136 seconds.

Oxford Bullnose

It’s unfair the way Paul’s being treated this year – maybe ‘odd’ rather than unfair – for a reigning DTM champ who’s shown real potential compared with Sutil he deserves a fair crack. Are they doing it on Fridays so as not to put Sutil in too bad a light (and thus risk losing his sponsors)?

Anyway, caught P1 and P2 on the red button yesterday and the overriding impression I got was WHAT a GROTTY place Valencia is for a GP. Looks like some industrial estate in Liverpool or Hull with better (slightly) weather. Horrible to watch on TV – sick of those blue concrete walls already – so goodness knows how cruddy it must be to drive around for three days. No atmosphere at all. A real poor man’s Monaco, a tramp’s Monaco…


Force India is alternating between Sutil and Di Resta as to who misses out on P1 session. Torro Rosso and Lotus do the same thing in the same way. P1 is the logical time to do it, as the track conditions are likely to be most different from the race and qualifying. Di Resta is slightly disadvantaged as he has 10 races to 9 where he sits out, but that’s it.


You’re not taking account of his lack of familiarity with many of the circuits, compared to Sutil. However, it’s generally not been that much of a hindrance to him so far and Sutil might well be out of a drive later in the year.


Careful what you say about Liverpool here….!


Industrial estates don’t tend to look good in most places, no need to single out somewhere you probably haven’t been to.

I think the bright colour scheme is the most revolting thing about the Valencia track.


di Resta 0.143 faster than Sutil


Best of luck to Paul Di Resta & top marks to him for being philosophical about the whole thing & more importantly not flinching when the Hulk wrecked his car. That’s a top bloke right there!

For sure this isn’t the perfect start to the weekend & am no expert & all, but I think modern day formula 1 cars don’t need that much getting to grips with so much so that the likes of Vettel can crash their car on Friday & go ahead to pole it just 24 hours later.

So yes, despite all the apprehension, I have no doubt Di Resta will come out of this smelling like roses & will out-qualify Sutil again for hey, Sutil has a lot on his mind too, lawsuits & all.

On the other end of the grid, am going for a Webber pole for Vettel poled & won it last year so baby Schumi is out of it this weekend.

As for Alonso Lol, for some reason this track doesn’t like him & no Alonso luck doesn’t even itself out.

Hamilton has no chance of pole for the Spanish fans have their voodoo dolls at hand & am thinking the lad will never win in Spain EVER!

As for Jenson well, it would be nothing short of a miracle if he can pole it.

Chris of Adelaide

I remember the glory days of Michael Shumacher @ Ferrari. He would find the 100% limit all the time by pushing his car that little too far and whacking it into a wall, jump in the “B” car and away he would go to get poll. These days it does make it very difficult and risky for drivers to find the limit as one mistake can destroy a weekend.


He’s still got 3rd practice to try out the tyres and work on his set up. It’s not then end of the world – he’s not fighting for a podium after all.

Still, come on Paul!


Di Resta by 0.235


11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m39.626s + 1.658 31

14. Paul di Resta Force India 1m40.363s + 2.395 7

It doesn’t reflect too well on Sutil that with their respective amounts of running at this track Di Resta was able to close to within less than a second of his best time so quickly. On the other hand it reflects very well on Di Resta.

I predict that by the end of P3, normal service will be resumed and Di Resta will be ahead on the time sheets.


Dude, 1 second is massive in F1. Really massive.


I reckon di Resta will qualify 0.238 slower than Sutil but beat Sutil in the race which would be a good weekend for di Resta.

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