Paul di Resta has admitted that the start to his Formula 1 career has exceeded even his own expectations after scoring again in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Force India driver added to his points tally with a strong drive to 10th place in Sepang, just a fortnight after being promoted to that same position in Australia following the disqualification of the Saubers. Having made such a good impression with his strong race craft, di Resta has said that he could never have predicted doing so well so early on.
"I wouldn't say I am surprised, but I am definitely feeling good about it," he told AUTOSPORT. "I went in with an open mind and that is what I have done. We've exceeded what we thought we were going to do, and we will stay very focused on that."
Di Resta believes that the point in Malaysia felt better than the one he achieved in Australia because it was achieved on the road.
"Yes, I think it is definitely more deserved," he said. "It was through speed. We got our strategy right with the speed we had. It was a bit unfortunate to lose that other point to Michael [Schumacher] in the end, but we had to cut our third stint a bit short as we were struggling on the tires, and with four or five laps fresher tires you could see what Michael could do.
"Once I saw I was ninth I knew the points would be important. I didn't make it easy for him, but at the same time I wasn't going to put myself at any risk."
Di Resta's performances are putting teammate Adrian Sutil under pressure, but the Scotsman is under no illusions that things could get harder for him in the future.
"Adrian is fast – I am learning off him, so it is not going to be easy," he said. "He is very fast at the moment and I will continue to try and learn off him and stay that side of him, but it is not always going to go my way.
"At certain points I am struggling; I am not going to deny it. I am still finding it difficult, but I am at a point where it is putting me through my paces and it will continue to do that. Hopefully through time it will get better. I am also working with two compounds, which I have never done in any other series."
If di Resta continues to deliver as he is at the moment, he should have little trouble convincing Force India to extend his contract for 2012, although he also knows that a good run of form could land him a seat elsewhere.
"You definitely have to think a bit about the future and what other possibilities are around," he said. "I will try and continue what I am doing to make a mark on that end of the grid."