Paul Di Resta wins again in Hungary
Mercedes-AMG, sometimes Sky F1 pundit and regular Williams F1 reserve driver Paul di Resta certainly gets around the place. Only last weekend he was on duty for Williams and Sky in the Monaco paddock explaining the intricacies of trying to overtake around the Principality’s narrow streets. Now this weekend he is in Hungary. So it was no surprise to see the Scotsman standing on the top step of the podium on Saturday afternoon at the Hungaroring after first race of the third round of this year’s DTM Series!
Di Resta won the opening race on Saturday ahead of his teammate and fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Lucas Auer. The Scot had, not surpassingly, started the race from pole position, but briefly lost first place to his teammate in the opening stages of the race. But just ten laps later, he fought back and retook the lead and was first to take the chequered flag.
Right behind the two lead Mercedes was Audi’s Nico Müller who claimed third place, taking only the second podium of the year for the Ingolstadt marque! Close behind him, and riding shotgun for his teammate was fellow Audi driver and defending champion Rene Rast. The German, who was still a little subdued after his horrifying accident just two weeks ago in the first race at the Lausitzring, very happy to take the points for fourth place.
Sadly for former F1 ace and BMW driver Timo Glock, who came to the Hungaroring leading the points standings, he had to settle for 14th place across the line and therefore did not add to his points tally. Going into Sunday’s second race of the weekend, he now sits second, seven points behind new leader Gary Paffett who keeps clocking up the points with a solid sixth place on Saturday afternoon.
“When starting a race from pole position and then winning, there is certainly no reason to complain,” said race winner Di Resta after the finish. “The few drops of rain on lap two didn’t make us nervous and eventually, the weather remained stable. But even if rain would have set in: our car is strong in wet conditions, too.”
Di Resta must like something in the Hungarian air as it was just almost a year ago at the very same track that he last stepped onto the top step of a podium when he won the second race of the 2017 Hungarian stop of the DTM Series.
“The small gap says it all,” said a very happy Lucas Auer, who finished just 0.587s behind di Resta. “Now, we are looking ahead to tomorrow. I don’t know why, but the Sunday is always more difficult than the Saturday.”
And with his first points of the 2018 season, Müller led the turnaround for Audi who not only bagged fourth place but also grabbed seventh (Robin Frijns), eight (Loic Duval) and ninth (Jamie Green). Five cars in the top ten were almost as many cars in total that Audi had, had in the points so far this season!
“Qualifying was rather surprising,” Müller said after the race, rather expectantly. “We have made a big step forward. Tomorrow, we are in with a good chance [of more points] once more. We will try everything,”
But the Hungaroring was not a happy hunting ground for BMW as the Munich marque propped up the results sheets, taking home no points from Budapest. Their savage beating by Mercedes and Audi into the bottom six places in the race, only interrupted by the lone Mercedes of Pascal Wehrlein in 13th. Twelfth for Bruno Spengler was certainly not going to feature in the sports headlines in the Münchner Merkur on Monday morning!
With twenty-five percent (five races) of the 2018 DTM Series now complete, Gary Paffett sits atop of the standings with 79 points, seven clear of Glock, with Saturday’s race winner Di Resta now in third place, albeit 23 points behind Paffett.