BATHGATE’S Paul di Resta paid the price of a spin midway through the inaugural grand prix in Texas to finish a disappointing 15th.
The 26-year-old Scot, who started the race at the new Circuit of the Americas track in Austin from 13th, had moved through to fifth before his first pitstop.
Eight laps later though and Di Resta’s race was wrecked when his Sahara Force India car spun at the notoriously slippery Turn 19.
“The spin flat-spotted two of the tyres and I had to pit because the vibration was unbelievable,” the Scot said.
“The car was basically undriveable. The unscheduled stop pretty well ruined my race because it meant we were completely out of sync with the rest of the field who completed the race with only one pitstop.
“It’s definitely not the way I wanted the race to unfold, because I was up to fifth and on course for a really strong point-scoring finish.”
The race was won by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. The Englishman, in his penultimate race for the team before switching to Mercedes for 2013, completed an audacious move on world championship leader Sebastian Vettel to take the win.
“It was wicked, wicked. I loved it so much,” Hamilton said after sealing his 21st win for McLaren.
“I was so happy, I nearly lost my voice as I came across the line. Actually, for that whole in-lap I was screaming the whole time. I was so happy.
“The overtake was actually quite tricky. I finally got close to him. I seemed to be catching him through the first sector, but coming out through Turn 9 he’d get a gap, but when the backmarkers came in to play, finally it worked in my favour.
“I knew it was going to be that lap, so I turned the engine up to maximum revs, and went to go on the outside, but he closed the door and I went to go on the inside.
“Then he kind of moved back a little bit. I was very lucky, because it was very, very close.”
Vettel, meanwhile, who started from pole but finished second ahead of the third-placed Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, blamed the backmarker Narain Karthikeyan for losing the win.
“I wasn’t too happy to send a deep invitation to Lewis going past Karthikeyan and he was right behind in the DRS zone,” a clearly disgruntled Vettel said.
“Lewis was close enough to open his rear wing. It didn’t matter which side I picked.”
Vettel’s disappointment overshadowed the fact Red Bull clinched the coveted Constructors’ Championship for the third year in a row. The German also heads to the season finale in Brazil this weekend, having extended his championship lead over closest rival Alonso to 13 points.
Even if the Ferrari ace wins in Sao Paulo — where rain is forecast for the race — Vettel needs only to finish no lower than fifth to clinch his third title. Alonso though is ready to take the challenge to Red Bull.
“We need this form in Sao Paulo to close the gap and help me, because we know Red Bull will be strong and we need all our team united,” Alonso said.
“I’ve heard that rain is forecast for Brazil next weekend, which is good for us. In dry conditions we would expect Red Bull to be first and second, and we would be sixth and seventh.
“In the race with wet conditions, anything could happen. Hopefully it will go in our favour. We saw today that (Mark) Webber retired with problems, so hopefully it’s about time the problems started happening to the other Red Bull.”