Di Resta’s soft tyre gamble helps him to sixth

2011 Singapore GP analysis

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Paul di Resta, Force India, Singapore, 2011

Paul di Resta was one of seven drivers to make the gamble of starting on soft tyres.

But he was the only one to finish in the points despite an inconveniently-timed safety car.

Here’s the data from the Singapore Grand Prix.

Lap chart

Sebastian Vettel led every lap and Jenson Button held second place for every lap.

Coincidentally, the same happened last yearFernando Alonso led every lap and Vettel was second on every lap.

Mark Webber’s start ran true to form – he lost two places, making it a net 22 he’s lost on the first lap this year.

Pit stops

Seven drivers took the gamble of starting the race on the harder soft compounds tyres. But only one of them finished in the points – Paul di Resta.

Di Resta was able to stay within range of team mate Adrian Sutil, who started on super softs, who was held up behind the two Mercedes drivers.

He was the last driver to make his first pit stop, staying out until lap 19. Sutil appeared to let him by on lap 26 soon after Di Resta caught him.

The safety car period worked against him – he couldn’t afford to be left vulnerable by not pitting, but equally it cost him the opportunity to complete his stint on super soft tyres and use another set to finish the race, which could have been faster.

However it’s doubtful it would have given him enough of an advantage to finish in front of Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes excelled in the pit lane, setting the four fastest pit stop times.

Race progress

The race progress chart shows the daunting scale of Vettel’s performance advantage in the early laps. He was 11.6 seconds clear after ten laps and his lead exceeded 20 seconds on lap 26.

After the safety car came in played the rules to perfection, backing up the field and taking advantage of the lapped cars behind him to instantly re-establish a four second lead. This still represented a loss of 18 seconds over his former lead.

He then pulled out a scarcely-believed five seconds on the next lap as Button picked his way through traffic. Before his final pit stop his lead stood at 13.9 seconds. It’s highly likely this would have been over half a minute without the safety car interruption.

Just as surprising, Button then reeled him in over the final laps, partly thanks to traffic. As the race ended Button was just 1.7 seconds behind – the smallest lead Vettel held all race.

All lap times

Button took the fastest lap, preventing Vettel from claiming a perfect result (pole, led every lap and fastest lap).

Despite finishing sixth, Di Resta only set the 15th-fastest lap of the race.

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

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    Image © Force India F1 Team

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    21 comments on “Di Resta’s soft tyre gamble helps him to sixth”

    1. Paul drove really well today, saying its hia first time here.

      1. He certainly did. Plus he didn’t get put out in FP2.

    2. Bets on Mark FINALLY gaining a place at the start of the race before the end of the season?

      1. I think I’ll pass.

        1. Besides China, has Webber gained any positions on Lap 1 of any race this year?

    3. button closed in then gave up once held up badly by the baby red bull(who also did the same to alonso) and the williams pair. But there was still plenty of traffic up front and he not given up he may of had a pop at him on the final lap once seb got caught in traffic again.

      it also begs the question where did buttons pace all of a sudden come from??

    4. If Mark didn’t have such appauling starts, do you think he would be fighting it out with Vettel at the front every race?

      1. Seriously doubt it. Most of the times, Vettel isn’t even pushed, he just cruises around, like today.

    5. Really great to see Kovy beat Petrov on pace, obviously Renault had a terrible weekend but it still shows Lotus are moving forward.

      1. yes, very interesting fact, they are having loads of problems with the blown diffuser the new lotus diffuser proved better than renault quite impressive.

      2. It also shows how bad a driver Petrov really is.

    6. I wish Di Resta doesnt suffer like Hulkenberg, because such great drivers must be the future. I think the old drivers are having problems coping with the new spec cars, in my view Di Resta is deserving of a better car, he is a top driver just like Rosberg unfortunately for rosberg he isnt finding good cars.

      1. Sad for Rosberg, he’s running out of time…

      2. Force India said they would keep paul next season

      3. The only thing that comes to mind about Hulkenberg are his kerb-cutting in Monza and his pole in Brazil. Not so spectacular imo as compared to other peoples views.

    7. Why didn’t this work for kobayashi they had the same stratgery

      1. He was caught up behind the safety car & was a lap down when the race restarted behind the safety car.

      2. for one he was nowhere in the first stint and getting a drive through for ignoring blue flags (holding up Button) did certainly not help him either.

    8. Hamilton was doomed the moment Brundle spoke to him :L

    9. Di Resta may well be the first British driver I could properly be a fan of since I started watching the sport. I think he could be a mega talent and the fact he kept up with Sutil on different tyres on a track he’s never driven prior to this weekend just stuns me. I was a bit doubtful about him when he first came into F1 given his hype and his time in DTM but he’s been the rookie of the year for me. My only problem is given his Mercedes connections he’s unlikely to end up at Ferrari any time soon!

      Vettel’s performance was just…well, there isn’t a superlative to describe it really. Awesome doesn’t quite convey how classy it was given the chatter about whether he’d bag the title this weekend, sensational doesn’t really show how relentless and dominating his pace was and super really just seems lame :P

      1. I also support Jenson now, he’s doing well and I finally see some sense in his suggested move to Ferrari. I see di Resta as a star of the future.

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