Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has indicated that Paul di Resta might be in with a chance of a full-time return to Formula 1 in 2018.

Di Resta stood in for regular driver Felipe Massa at short notice after the Brazilian fell ill on Saturday morning. With just 90 minutes notice, di Resta qualified in 19th place for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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He went on to have a smooth, incident-free race on Sunday before being forced to retire with technical issues shortly before the finish. The 31-year-old Scot was commended for his coolness in quickly adapting to the situation.

“I was cautious and just wanted to keep my nose clean,” di Resta said after the race. “It would have been nice to finish without the oil leak. But overall I’m not too dissatisfied with where I was, given how little running I’d had.”

“I think he’s done his reputation no end of good this weekend,” said an impressed Lowe, who agreed that di Resta deserved consideration for a race seat next season.

“We’re very open-minded about what we’re going to do for next year anyway. Being open-minded, we’ll consider all options.

“I noticed that Mercedes said they might give him the same call,” he added. “And that’s the situation.”

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However, the reality is that it’s a crowded drivers market at the moment. Williams is almost certain to retain Lance Stroll next season, and the chances are that Massa will also stay on.

“We’ve got a bit of a problem on the horizon with a lack of destinations for drivers that don’t quite make it into Formula 1,” Lowe admitted.

“We have unfortunately got the prospect of less destinations for accomplished drivers in the future.”

Di Resta previously competed for Force India between 2011 and 2013, starting a total of 58 starts. He subsequently moved to DTM with the Mercedes-affiliated HWA team, and became Williams’ reserve driver in 2016.

Ironically, di Resta had already been providing sick cover during the weekend on the media side. He was filling in for Sky Sports F1 co-commentator Martin Brundle, who fell ill at the previous Grand Prix at Silverstone and was still recovering at home.

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