Is Paul Di Resta's 6th-Place Finish in Abu Dhabi Too Little Too Late?

Fraser Masefield@@fmasefieldContributor INovember 4, 2013

Di Resta finished sixth in Abu Dhabi
Di Resta finished sixth in Abu DhabiClive Mason/Getty Images

Paul di Resta’s sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix may just have been enough to persuade employer’s Force India to give him one more season to prove his worth.

It is not too much of an understatement to say that going into Sunday’s race, the Scot was under enormous pressure to deliver the goods with his Formula One career on the line.

But deliver he did,  and there were signs that he may be rediscovering some of his form of old as he held off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in the closing laps to secure valuable points for his team in the battle for sixth place in the constructors’ standings.

After the race, Di Resta told Sky Sports that he feels he has done enough to merit another season with the team.

I've always said I would like to stay with the team - I would like to stay in F1 more importantly - but if they give me the tools I can deliver. I will be expecting a decision very soon from the senior management, but I will keep focusing on the races and let the management team do the business in the background.

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I managed the tyres when I had to, delivered when I had to, but I think more importantly staying ahead of a Mercedes and fighting a Ferrari - what more could you ask for? We finished off the job we should have done in Singapore on tyre wear and hopefully we can take this momentum to Texas.

Di Resta is saying all the right things at the right time, but one swallow does not make a summer; the Scot has endured a turbulent season that saw him clash with the team in Canada.

Having started 17th on the grid due to gearbox software issues, Di Resta labelled his team’s performances as “not acceptable” in an interview with BBC Sport.

A strong drive through the field to seventh helped to rebuild the bridges, as did another to ninth from the back of the grid at Silverstone. But then followed a disastrous run of seven races without a points finish that left the Scot fearing for his F1 career.

Di Resta has redressed the balance over the last two races, and there are other factors that may just swing the balance his way before Force India reaches a decision at the end of the season.

Nico Hulkenberg looked to be Di Resta’s biggest threat as a potential replacement, but now that Lotus appear to have finalised an investment deal with Quantum motorsports, the German looks set to join Lotus rather than go back to his former employers.

And although Di Resta has his critics, a glance at the drivers’ standings sees him nine points ahead of Hulkenberg, 13 ahead of Sergio Perez and a telling 19 ahead of teammate Sutil.

We must not also forget that team boss Vijay Mallya is known for his loyalty and stuck with Sutil after he missed last season due to his conviction for causing grievous bodily harm to Lotus shareholder Eric Lux.

At least one more strong points-scoring drive should be enough to convince Force India that he has done enough to merit another crack of the whip.