November 3rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Force India recorded their fifth double points finish of the 2013 season and second in two races by using a bold one-stop strategy in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The strategy paid off and helped Di Resta to sixth place in the race, while Sutil finished tenth.
Before the race began, there were suggestions that a one-stop strategy could work. However, most drivers made two stops, preferring not to push the soft compound option tyre too far. Only Force India chose to use one-stop strategies, although the drivers started on different compound tyres - Di Resta started on the soft compound tyre, while Sutil started on the medium tyre.
Di Resta made his starting set of soft tyres last 20 laps before switching to the more durable medium tyre which he kept on his car until the end of the race. Sutil started on the medium compound, and pitted for soft tyres after 28 laps. That meant he had to cover an impressive 27 laps on a single set of soft compound tyres, which would have seemed impossible after Friday practice.
The strategy worked. Di Resta was able to hold off a challenge from Lewis Hamilton late in the race, despite having much older tyres on his car than Hamilton had on his, and Di Resta came home sixth to score eight points for himself and Force India.
Sutil finished tenth, only losing out to Sergio Perez on the very last lap of the race when his tyres were too worn to allow him to defend against the McLaren driver any longer.
To make their double points finish even more impressive, both Force India drivers started the race outside the top ten. Di Resta was 11th on the grid and Sutil was far down in 17th at the start. To bring both cars home in the points on a one-stop strategy from those starting positions was a very strong result for the team.
This is what the Force India drivers had to say after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
Paul Di Resta: “It’s a great feeling to finish sixth and make the one-stop strategy work. I said yesterday that we had opted to set the car up more for the race and it really paid off today. There were times when we had to be very quick and times when we had to manage the pace and look after the tyres.
"Towards the end of the race I was battling with Fernando and Lewis, but it was impossible to hold Fernando back because he was on much fresher soft tyres. Lewis was on the mediums so I just focussed on getting clean exits from the hairpin and the chicane leading onto the long straights, and was able to stay ahead.
"The eight points are just what we needed and everybody in the team deserves credit for the big effort that has gone in this week. That’s two strong weekends in a row and we will move to Austin determined to keep up the momentum.”
Adrian Sutil: “Considering that I started in P17 I have to be quite satisfied about scoring a point and I’m happy about the team result today. It’s not been an easy weekend with the problems I had during practice and qualifying, but the strategy today was the right one and we came away with a point.
"I was running in ninth until the last lap ahead of Perez, but by that time I had done 27 laps on the soft tyres and it was very hard to defend because I had no traction out of the slow speed corners. The points scored in the last two races have been very important for the championship position.”