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Motor Racing

F1: Paul Di Resta keen to move on from Malaysian Grand Prix

Force India drivers fail to finish race

Paul Di Resta has drawn a line through a wretched weekend following a Malaysian Grand Prix that proved to be of “extreme disappointment” for Force India team principal Vijay Mallya.

Despite possessing a quick car to start this season as the team have undoubtedly made progress since last year, Di Resta's woes began in qualifying on Saturday when he was caught out by the weather.

Starting from 15th, the conditions again played a part early in the race as teams switched from wet to dry tyres, with Force India opting to stack their cars.

Team-mate Adrian Sutil, however, suffered a problem that cost Di Resta behind him 23 seconds, dropping him to 18th.

But the 26-year-old powered his way back through the field, including passing Sutil, and was running 11th when an issue with the front-left wheel nut effectively ended his race at the second stop.

A few laps later Sutil retired with the same problem, ensuring the team left Kuala Lumpur empty handed when they should have had both cars in the top 10 given their pace.

"The wheel nut issue was something that did not show up all weekend, but it hurt us quite badly," Di Resta said to Press Association Sport.

"We did a whole winter's testing with the new nut and nothing showed up, so why here? Maybe the heat. I guess the design office is going to be busy now.

"I was probably looking at seventh place, without the first stop in which I lost all that time, so what happened is pretty frustrating given how quick we were over the weekend.

"At least wheel nuts can be fixed for China whereas performance can't be fixed that quickly, and performance was a big highlight of what we achieved over the weekend.

"All I can do now is put a stroke through the weekend, cross it off, but with the positive we showed what we could do with our performance in the race."

Just a week after the team's best points finish in the opening grand prix in Australia, with Sutil seventh and Di Resta eighth, to leave Malaysia with nothing was a bitter blow for Mallya.

"It was really looking good until the wheel nut failed, and this is the new wheel nut we have on the car for 2013," Mallya told Press Association Sport.

"It is something, with all the delicate equipment on board a Formula One car you would not expect an otherwise robust part like a wheel nut to collapse on you.

"Some things happen in racing. It could have been the heat, it could have been the loading because the problem was with the left-hand side wheel nut.

"But whatever it was compromised the race completely and I had to retire both the cars.

"It's a tough game, this, and you have to be prepared and take things in your stride, but the disappointment doesn't go away.

"For me, what happened is more than deep disappointment. It's extreme disappointment.

"It's one of those things and one of those days when luck was not on our side."