Fifth felt like first after Bahrain nightmare, says Force India's Di Resta
09:56 GMT, 23 April 2012
Paul di Resta hailed his result in Bahrain as like a victory for his team in the wake of a difficult week.
Following Force India's worst performance of the season in China eight days ago, Di Resta believes their best ever was conjured in the Gulf kingdom.
Di Resta equalled his highest race finish in Formula One with sixth at the Bahrain International Circuit as the team pulled together in the wake of their earlier travails.
Best ever: Paul di Resta secured an impressive fifth-place in Bahrain
After four team members were caught up in Bahrain's anti-government protests on Wednesday night en route to capital Manama from the track, some tough decisions were made.
Two personnel opted to fly home, citing safety reasons, with the team then deciding not to run in second practice on Friday for the security of the remainder of their staff.
There are suggestions that withdrawing from the race altogether was considered, but ultimately rejected, which if true was vindicated by Di Resta's display over the weekend.
After qualifying 10th, Di Resta then made a two-stop strategy work to perfection, whilst all those around him opted for three, bringing home eight points to lift him up to 10th in the drivers' championship.
'It was an outstanding performance by every member of the team this weekend, and under difficult circumstances,' said Di Resta. 'It's been difficult for every team member, but everyone of them has stood up.
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'They played everything right – strategy, pit stops, I worked with my engineer to dial the car in right and the track came to us.
'Sixth position for us is a massive achievement, probably the same for us as Sebastian (Vettel) winning the race given the car we have.
'Looking at everybody's performance, we've stepped things up, tried to do our best and probably outperformed any performance we've ever had as a team.'
All within the Silverstone-based marque could have been forgiven for expressing a sense of relief come the end of the race, and in finally heading home.
Instead, deputy team principal Bob Fernley, the man charged with making the difficult decisions this past week, admitted to 'a feeling of pride'.
Backdrop: Anti-government protestors continued their action on the streets
'We addressed something, we restructured our programme and we delivered,' Fernley said. 'I think that goes to show the depth of the team through what has been quite a challenging weekend.
'Paul's result was tremendous. The boys and girls went through a tough few days, but it took all of them to deliver for him.'
Fernley is adamant he would not have done anything differently, even if it seemingly cost his team airtime on television during Saturday as footage controllers in Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management did not show a single shot of either car.
Fernley added: 'I don't think there was anything special there, and other team principals in my position would have done the same.
'It's just that we have a duty of care to our employees, and if that means it's a bit uncomfortable at the time for myself, then so be it. You have to deliver.'