PAUL DI RESTA was left to reflect on only one positive from a miserable British Grand Prix that lasted just two laps – the fans.
Minimal contact with the Lotus of Romain Grosjean going into The Loop on the opening lap at Silverstone resulted in the Scot spinning off with a puncture to the right-rear tyre of his Force India.
Although Di Resta managed to trundle back to the pits, it became apparent on his subsequent lap that damage to the floor had also been sustained, forcing him to retire – his first in 24 races, stretching back to last year's Turkish GP.
It was a bitter pill to swallow given his enthusiasm ahead of the event, and with vast support for the 26-year-old clearly in evidence due to the number of banners and Saltires adorning the grandstands.
Di Resta said: "There's not a lot I can say, and very little to take out of it. The one positive for me were the fans.
"They had to cope with so much given the conditions, but they turned out in their thousands to support us.
"Grosjean had a little touch with (Lewis) Hamilton, and I then got alongside him and left him room, but it looks like his front wing contacted my rear tyre.
"It's difficult to say whose fault it was, or whatever, but I did leave him room. Unfortunately, the tyre came straight off the rim, and it was so early in the lap."
Meanwhile, Mark Webber today ended speculation surrounding his future by signing a new one-year contract with Red Bull Racing for 2013.
Australian Webber, who claimed the ninth victory of his career at Silverstone, had been linked with a move to Ferrari next year.
CYCLING: Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France lead is set to come under attack over the coming days – and the race leader's Team Sky colleague and fellow-Briton Chris Froome could be the one to cash in.
Even though Froome's primary role is to support Wiggins' Tour bid, if the Team Sky leader is unable to follow an attack in the Alps this week, the Kenyan-born Brit could find himself reluctantly overtaking his team-mate.
Victory in the stage nine time-trial saw Wiggins take a commanding lead of one minute 53 seconds in the yellow jersey over defending champion Cadel Evans into today's rest day ahead of tomorrow's resumption on the 120-mile 10th stage from Macon to Bellegard-sur-Valserine, the first Alpine stage.
Evans is 14 seconds ahead of Froome, with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) 2mins 23secs adrift in fourth.