Paffett: “I was very kind to Paul”
The big rival won the race at Brands Hatch on Sunday. Nevertheless, the leader in the drivers’ standings made an impression of being fully happy. Right after the start, Paul Di Resta already overtook Gary Paffett in the first corner. The Scot defended his first place until the finish. Paffett showed himself generous: “It does make a difference who it is who wants to get past. You leave your fellow Mercedes driver more room. An Audi or a BMW driver would have succeeded in overtaking me like that. You race to defeat them, so I would have taken more risks. I was very kind to Paul, but when it goes down to the wire, I will fight with him with all the means that I have,” Paffett said. He is now leading the drivers’ standings with 177 points from Di Resta (148). The 37-year-old added: “You have to score as many points as possible. You can’t win them all, as today shows. I was on pole and I had the speed, but my start wasn’t perfect, that was annoying. After that, it was just about avoiding making any mistakes and not destroying the car. It was my aim to safely bring second place home. I have scored another podium finish and extended my points’ lead.”
In spite of his third win at Brands Hatch after 2009 and 2010, Di Resta wasn’t in a good mood after ending up second in qualifying. He skipped the usual photo of the top three. “I was disappointed that another driver had gone off the track. After that, there was a lot of gravel and grass on the track. Had it not been for that, I would have been on pole position. I was the victim of someone else’s mistake,” he explained his bad mood that turned around quickly some two hours later after the tenth DTM race win of his career. “It was a perfect day, but it wasn’t a perfect weekend. In the DTM, little things decide. I am really happy with this victory. But Gary is very consistent. He is the driver to beat. We had a good fight in 2010 and I am convinced that this will be the case again this season until the very end. With some luck, the tables can turn around very quickly.”
On the previous day, Di Resta had failed to score points for the first time in 2018. And Paffett made the most of this rare occasion. “In qualifying, I got off the track, but still ended up sixth and also came sixth in the race. Thus, I scored eight valuable points. That is what you have to do to win the title. That was more important than coming second today. You have to take risks. Yesterday, I ended up in the gravel bed, today, I was on pole,” Paffett emphasised. He is expecting a battle between the two Mercedes-AMG drivers first and foremost. “I had four pole positions this year, that is unbelievable. I have to remain aggressive and make sure that I put the car up front in qualifying. You can’t back off, not one bit. Paul has shown that he is very quick. I am sure that the two of us will be fighting with each other until the end of the season.”
In 2010, Paul Di Resta became champion. The Scot ended up first with 71 points, four points ahead of Paffett. Currently, it is Paffett who seems to be having the best chances. His margin is 29 points. However, the only thing that is certain in the DTM is that there are no certainties. And there are still 324 points at stake.