Paul di Resta has revealed his ambition 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.
Buemi's evaluation phase up at end of season
The time for Sebastien Buemi's evaluation as a future Red Bull driver will be up at the end of the season.
Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost told F1's official website that drivers should get a "maximum (of) three years" to show they have the potential to follow Sebastian Vettel in readiness for a top seat.
"Or let's put it this way: if you are not sure after three years whether he's going to make it, I would bluntly say forget him, period," said Tost.
Swiss Buemi, 22, made his F1 debut at the start of 2009 and is now considered the most likely Toro Rosso driver to make way for Red Bull's latest protege Daniel Ricciardo.
"I expect him (Ricciardo) to best (HRT teammate) Liuzzi after not more than three or four races," said Tost.
He admitted that both Buemi and his current teammate Jaime Alguersuari are "still deep in" the self-discovery phase.
"They are moving forward ... so let's wait and see how the second half of the season works out. Then at the end of the year we will sit together with Red Bull to discuss who will sit in our cars in 2012."
Tost said he is looking forward to working with Red Bull's next youngsters including Ricciardo and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.
"Red Bull bought this team with the intention to give youngsters a chance to prove themselves and eventually rise to a seat with Red Bull Racing," he said.
Germans convinced Vettel to win 2011 title
Sebastian Vettel will certainly win the 2011 world championship, according to Germany.
The SID news agency commissioned market research company Promit to ask Germans if their countryman Vettel is a sure bet to become F1's first back-to-back world champion since Fernando Alonso five years ago.
An overwhelming 74.4 per cent answered yes, with only 11.8 per cent believing that one of the Red Bull driver's rivals - like Alonso or the McLaren duo - can win the 2011 title.
Lewis Hamilton, who along with his teammate Jenson Button as well as Ferrari's Alonso prevented Vettel from winning a single race in July, thinks he still has a chance.
"There are 200 points up for grabs and I will enter all the races believing I can win them," the Briton told the Daily Star newspaper.
"It is going to be an exciting run down to the last race in Brazil and I can't wait for the next round in Belgium.
"Our car's pace is there right now as we have shown with our wins, mine in Germany with the fastest lap and Jenson's in Hungary.
"The car's on song because of our excellent qualifying pace at both," said Hamilton.
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