Paul Di Resta is convinced he would have been back in the points at the Belgian Grand Prix but for a collision with Pastor Maldonado that left him baffled.
Di Resta was left without the back end of his Force India on lap 27 at Spa after Maldonado clipped the Scot’s team-mate Adrian Sutil before running into the 26-year-old in a bizarre attempt to pit.
It means Di Resta is now on a miserable run of three races without a point after failing to score in Germany and Hungary before the summer break.
“I don’t know what he (Maldonado) was really thinking,” said Di Resta.
“In the process of taking me out, he probably could have taken another two cars out at the same time. I’m not going to point a finger, but it’s pretty clear I was stuck where I was and there was nothing I could do to avoid it.
“It’s a few times here the pit entry has caught a few people out. He wasn’t going to make the pits, so I don’t know what he was planning to do or where he was going.
“He made quite a mess of my car. He ripped the whole side out, from the radiator back. I’m surprised he carried on.”
Neither man exchanged views after the race, nor was there an apology from Maldonado, who collected a stop-go penalty for the incident.
Explaining from his perspective, Maldonado said: “Our lines crossed as I was entering the pits.
“It was a difficult situation because I was fighting hard with the Sauber and I didn’t see Di Resta on the outside as I turned toward the pitlane. I tried to brake to avoid the accident but it was too late.”
Di Resta, who had started from a career-high fifth, feels a top-10 finish was possible as the team showed signs of getting on top of the new Pirelli tyres.
“Points were on the cards,” added Di Resta.
“I got off to a bad start, falling to 11th at the first corner, but got back up to seventh, which was probably reflective of our speed at that point in the race.
“We had a good first stint, called right the timing of the first stop, but after that I got stuck in a gaggle and grained the front tyres.
“Then I got on to the last set of tyres, which felt exceptional, and for the lap and a half I did before the incident I was showing some pace which was a bit of a surprise.
“In Hungary, yes, we struggled, but here we bounced back well. That is where our car is, fighting for ninth, 10th if everything goes well. Everybody has done a good job reacting, all the engineers, and the effort put in has obviously paid off.
“It would have been points but for what happened with Maldonado. There was definitely a 10th place in there.”