Singapore: Paul di Resta recorded his career-best result as he picked up 12 points for Sahara Force India with a fourth-place finish even as his teammate Nico Hulkenberg returned empty-handed from the incident-filled Singapore Grand Prix.
Di Resta, for whom a sixth place result was best so far, was helped by Lewis Hamilton’s retirement, whose MacLaren had a mechanical failure in lap 23.
Hulkenberg finished 14th after starting from 12th but set the fastest lap of the race with 1min 51.033 secs.
Hamilton was leading the race smoothly from pole position before his gearbox stopped responding. It helped Di Resta move up to fifth from sixth.
It was a blow to Hamilton’s championship chances as a no-point show has now pushed him to fourth place with 142 points.
Hamilton’s crashing out handed the race lead to Sebastian Vettel, who kept it till the end won the only night Formula One race, which was completed under two-hour time restriction.
Jenson Button was second in the second McLaren and was followed by championship leader Fernando Alonso, who leads Vettel by 24 points.
With this result, Force India have consolidated their seventh position in the constructors’ championship as they have extended their lead over Williams by 21 points.
Willams’ Pastor Maldando, who was going strong fourth after starting from second on the grid, had to retire due to a hydraulic failure and it crushed their hopes of catching up Force India.
Nico Rosberg was fifth, followed by Raikonnen and Romain Grosjean in two Lotus cars. Felipe Massa was eighth in the second Ferrari, followed by Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber.
India’s Narain Karthikeyan retired after crashing into the walls in the tunnel under the Grand Stand in lap 34 and was one of the six drivers who did not finish the race.
Michael Schumacher hit Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric-Vergne from behind in lap 37, ending the race for both of them.
Di Resta was ecstatic with his performance today.
“Fourth place is a great team result and my best day in Formula One so far. We qualified well, raced hard and took advantage of a few retirements, but in the final stint we certainly showed that we had great pace.
“I was very close to Alonso in the closing stages, but was just missing the pace to really challenge him for the podium. This result is just what we needed for our fight in the championship and I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to the boys in the garage who put in a huge effort, as always.”
Nico Hulkenberg was disappointed with the result.
“It was a pretty rough race for me. The strategy we chose by starting on the soft tyres could have paid off, but I was stuck behind Kimi and Michael early on and couldn’t really show the true pace of the car,” he said.
Team Principal & Managing Director Vijay Mallya said, “A superb day for the team and especially for Paul who should be very proud of his performance. It was a very mature drive and he made the most of the great pace we had in the car.”
“It’s a credit to the team that we were just a few seconds away from the podium and able to match the race pace of Ferrari. I’m disappointed things did not work out for Nico because we had a quick car today and should have come away with more points. The safety car hurt his race badly and there was no way to recover. ”