The 26-year-old Scot had to complete the whole race on the lightning quick Spa-Francorchamps track without KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) working on his Sahara Force India.
“It’s not what you want to hear, 30 minutes before the start of the race, that KERS isn’t working,” Di Resta said afterwards. “I knew then, before we started the race, that I wasn’t going to have KERS for the whole race.
“That meant that whether I was attacking, or the one being attacked, I was always a sitting duck and always the one who was going to come off second best.
“It’s poor, because I think we had a good car, and especially given what happened at the first corner.
“I was vulnerable right through the race: today we just couldn’t do anything with the car I had. Frustrating.” Despite the handicap, Di Resta brought his car home tenth to clinch the final world championship point.
McLaren’s Jenson Button won the race from pole position, surviving a first-corner shunt involving four cars.
The Lotus of Romain Grosjean clipped the front of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren sending both into the Ferrari of world championship leader Fernando Alonso.
Grosjean, whose car became airborne in the incident and landed on top of the Ferrari, was subsequently given a one-race ban and a €50,000 fine for causing the crash, which also took out the Sauber of Sergio Perez. None of the drivers were injured.