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Mat Coch writes:
Paul di Resta was lucky to walk away after a heavy crash in the closing stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Force India driver, who was running on intermediates, speared sharply into the wall as he approached the start/finish line scattering debris across the track and bringing out the safety car.
"It was a very tricky race and not easy to make the calls with the weather constantly changing," said the Scot after the race. "We made the wrong decision to switch to the intermediates in the early stages because the track began to dry quite soon after my stop. The tyres lost performance quickly and I went back to the slicks just before the safety car came out. That brought us back into play, but I struggled for grip at the restart and lost a few places."
If that wasn't bad enough, worse was to follow for the 26-year-old. "With a lap to go I aquaplaned in the final corner," he explained. "It was a big hit with the wall, but I'm OK."
Teammate Nico Hulkenberg led for much of the race and looked good for a strong result before being handed a drive-through penalty after coming together with Lewis Hamilton.
"It's hard to say what happened but I was making a move going into turn one and had a slightly loose rear," said the German. "I was about to turn in and suddenly there was contact. It's a shame for both of us because we were having a great battle. I managed to keep going but I had lost a lot of time."
Hulkenberg, who dropped behind Jenson Button as a result of the clash, recovered to finish fifth. Outwardly the team praised the strong result while inwardly it must be disappointed not to have come away with more, di Resta's crash summing up Force India's day in dramatic fashion; a race that promised so much but which ultimately fell short of delivering its full potential.
"For a while it looked like we were heading for a fairytale result with Nico," said deputy team principal Bob Fernley. "We had a great car today and had the pace to win, but it was not meant to be.
"We were surprised by the drive-through for Nico, and feel it could have been investigated after the race because there were three cars involved," he added. "With Paul we played a slightly different strategy with an early switch to the intermediate tyres, as most teams did, but when the rain eased off he went back to slicks. He was looking set for points until the crash towards the end, but it's a relief to see him get out of the car OK."
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