Paul di Resta has revealed he is racing to catch up with his contemporaries and F1 champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
The rookie Scot has impressed the F1 paddock with his Force India debut this season after rising to the top of the German touring car series DTM.
In an interview with Autosprint, he revealed how his career took a turn after beating Vettel to the F3 Euroseries, when Mercedes offered to pay him to race in DTM.
But Vettel, of course, had already started his F1 career with BMW-Sauber, while reigning F3 champion Hamilton was dominating the GP2 championship that would lead to his sensational McLaren debut.
“I took some time to think about it (Mercedes’ offer),” said di Resta, “because I really wanted to stay in single seaters.
“But I also had a significant problem. I did a test in a GP2 car and it was simply too small for me. I changed seats three times but it was a nightmare.
“I decided that the chance to do DTM was the best choice, but I never stopped thinking I would get to Formula One some day. But I knew it was vital to keep myself visible, so I had to win.”
With a good first half to his debut F1 season now behind him, 25-year-old di Resta’s immediate future is secure and he is being linked with a move at some point to Mercedes GP.
But does he rue the success already achieved by his defeated F3 rival Vettel?
“In my F3 team there were four of us: me, Vettel, Kobayashi and van der Garde. I have to say that when he got to F1, Sebastian did an incredible job, capitalising on what he had in the best way.
“Perhaps he would have done the same thing if he had been in my place in DTM, maybe not. It’s also true that I can’t say what I would have done if I had had his chances.
“The same thing happened with Hamilton, he was a good driver in the minor categories, and when he arrived with a great (F1) team straight away it was natural that he did a good job.
“Sebastian and Lewis were able to get what I’m trying to get now,” added di Resta.