Paul di Resta – 16
Scottish rookie Paul di Resta has had a good first season in F1. Having won the DTM championship, many people hoped he would be a more competitive teammate for Adrian Sutil, and so far they haven’t been proven wrong. Having beaten the German in seven of eleven qualifying sessions, he’s clearly got it in single-seaters as well as tin tops. In fact, he put the VJM04 into Q3 first of the two drivers, taking eighth on the grid in China.
He’s also one of that rare breed to score points on their debut, though they were received thanks to the disqualification of the two Saubers. In Malaysia, however, he finished 10th again, receiving points much more fairly. But until the most recent race, Paul went through a dry spell. In Hungary, however, he achieved his best-ever finish coming in 7th ahead of Rosberg’s works Mercedes. It’s rather worrying when the works car is struggling to compete with the teams they supply engines too. McLaren is one thing, but Force India…?
Paul has only been in Q3 once since China, when a brilliant push got him into sixth at his home race of Silverstone, again ahead of both works Mercedes. The Force India is doing well this year, and with both drivers putting in good performances, beating Sauber could be on the cards. But there is always the threat from Toro Rosso.
People are already speaking about Paul replacing Schumacher at Mercedes in 2012, or in 2013 if the seven-time world champion completes his contract. He is Mercedes’ golden boy, so a promotion is very likely. Meanwhile, he’ll definitely be around next season for more racing.
Worst qualifying: 16
Best qualifying: 6
Worst finish: 15 (Britain; classified non-finish 18th in Canada)
Best finish: 7 (Hungary)
Average difference: -1.36
Laps completed: 656/681 (96%)
Average race position: 11.56 (Best: 8.5 Hungary; Worst: 14.5 Monaco)