Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Hungary GP: Paul di Resta replaces unwell Felipe Massa for Williams

Unwell Massa visited hospital for checks Paul di Resta prepares t replace unwell Felipe Massa in Hungary
Javier Burns | 30 July, 2017, 01:15

Whatever happens to Di Resta in Sunday's Grand Prix, the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix will not be one he forgets in a hurry.

Williams reserve driver di Resta received a remarkably late call up just 90mins before qualifying after Felipe Massa - having been passed fit to compete in FP3 following dizzy spells after practice yesterday - decided he couldn't continue in his current state.

Having not raced in a Formula 1 Grand Prix since 2013, the Scottish driver returned to the sport past year as a Reserve and Test Driver for Williams, but was never needed on a race weekend.

"Even if I drove this morning then I wouldn't get to drive on high fuel and would only be one compound".

Paul Di Resta turned up to the Hungaroring on Saturday morning, expecting to be in the Sky Sports commentary box.

"There was a bit of a miscommunication, so I didn't know that anyone was coming behind and we've now got a penalty for blocking another vehicle..."

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In the end, he did much more than might have been expected.

As long as he is within the 107% time in qualifying, he will be able to take his place on the grid, alongside Williams's other driver, Canadian rookie driver Lance Stroll.

He completed five flying laps and went quicker every time, progressing from an initial 1:22.289.

"Honestly, I felt quite comfortable quite quickly". There is still plenty of potential'.

"It's not quite me leaping in the ring with the heavyweight champion of the world but it's not far off", he said. Massa had been complaining of dizziness, meaning that di Resta was thrown right in the deep end - his only previous experience of the 2017 vehicle coming in the team's simulator. "He didn't make any mistakes, got faster and faster and he's not last". Williams technical head Paddy Lowe could only agree with that assessment.

"It's a shame, because today had been quite a good day: our overall performance and my feeling with the vehicle was okay, even if the balance changed a bit throughout the qualifying session".

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