Unwell Di Resta targets pointsposted in F124 | 10 | 2013

    BATHGATE'S PAUL DI RESTA, fighting off illness, heads to the Buddh International Circuit near Delhi this weekend hoping his Sahara Force India team can build on the progress it made a fortnight ago in Japan.

    This weekend's Indian Grand Prix is, of course, a major event for the Scot's team, and Di Resta — who will sit-out Friday morning's practice — is confident everyone involved can put on a show for the 'home' spectators.

    "It's definitely going to be something special this weekend," the 27-year-old Scot, who finished 11th last time out in Japan, admitted. "India is a massive country with a growing following for Formula One, so I think we're in for a big weekend.

    "Of course, F1 isn't as big as cricket is in India — at least not yet — but the sport, and especially Sahara Force India, has a big, big following.

    "We come to India several times during the year and you can see the growing enthusiasm of the fans. It’s great that we get to spend time with them and show them the thrill of Formula One up close.

    "But for me and everyone in the Sahara Force India team, we'll be preparing for the weekend exactly the same we way do for any other race.

    Related: Paul di Resta just misses out on point

    "Of course, I have a few extra media events to attend and take part in — I've spent a few days in Delhi ahead of the race to meet the local media and fans — but the structure of the actual weekend is exactly the same as any other F1 weekend," Di Resta, a global ambassador for Whyte & Mackay Whisky, continued.

    "Is there any additional pressure on us? Probably. Everyone in India will be expecting us to score points, but again that's no different to what our aims are at every grand prix.

    "We showed in Japan that we appear to have solved a number of the performance issues we've had since we reverted back to the 2012 Pirelli tyre construction, which certainly set us back after the excellent start we had to the season.

    "We made some real progress with setting up the car, so going an extra step and getting in the top 10 has got to be the goal this weekend.

    "The Buddh International Circuit is an exciting track. There are a lot of undulations and blind corners: in fact there's a big variety of corners, plus three long straights.

    "And it's going to be tough again on the tyres; that's a definite. The combination of the hot temperatures — we're expecting track temps of 40-degrees — pretty much ensures that managing the tyres will be crucial.

    Comment: Is Paul di Resta really under pressure?

    "Friday is going to be crucial because this is one of those tracks where finding the right rhythm with a well-balanced car really pays you back with lap time.

    "Having said all that, the whole Sahara Force India team is confident, given our recent performances, that we can score some points and give our Indian fans something to cheer."

    Meanwhile, the man Di Resta beat to the 2006 Euro F3 title, Sebastian Vettel, will start Sunday's Indian Grand Prix knowing he need only finish fifth, or higher, to seal his fourth successive world championship.

    The Red Bull driver enters the weekend with a near unsurmountable 90-point lead ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with only four grands prix remaining.

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    Jim McGill


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