Di Resta facing uphill struggle after Hulkenberg crash
|By Edd Straw||Friday, June 24th 2011, 15:20 GMT|
Paul di Resta faces a challenge to make up for lost time in the build-up to the European Grand Prix after third driver Nico Hulkenberg crashed the Scot's Force India this morning, restricting him to only three flying laps on Friday.
After setting the pace early in the session, the German lost it under braking on the run to Turn 12, hitting the wall and forcing the team into completing a lengthy repair to damage to the driveshaft/gearbox assembly.
Despite only taking to the track with 10 minutes of the afternoon session remaining, di Resta lapped only seven tenths of a second off team-mate Adrian Sutil.
However, he was not able to complete a run on the medium compound prime tyre or complete any high-fuel running, which will be a disadvantage with only one hour of practice remaining before qualifying.
"I feel for Nico because I'm sure that he feels pretty low at this point," said di Resta. "It was obviously not his intention to do that.
"All credit to the guys [for repairing it] and I'm sure Nico will be thanking them because they are the ones that were getting the car back together. It was unfortunate that what broke took a lengthy amount of time to repair.
"It's hard coming here having done nine laps last year to have only three timed laps going into Saturday morning. It becomes a question of how risky you want to be changing things and the setup because you are still improving yourself and the track is going to evolve.
"The biggest disadvantage is not doing a long run to get the starting aero balance for Sunday and to understand tyre wear. Despite being disadvantaged by Hulkenberg's mistake, di Resta stopped short of calling on Force India to drop its policy of running its reserve driver on Friday mornings."
Di Resta himself had the advantage of running during the session on eight occasions last year, although never damaged the car and always underlined the need to keep the car on the track.
"It makes things tricky, but it benefited me last year being a rookie to the championship this year," said di Resta. "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 diver 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."