Nov.2 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Paul di Resta was surprised when he heard his 2012 teammate Nico Hulkenberg had decided to move to Sauber next year.

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has described the German’s switch as a “sideways” step, while Hulkenberg on Thursday denied he is making the move to be closer to Ferrari.

“I was surprised that Nico left this team, to be fair, for an immediate competitor,” Scot di Resta is quoted by the PTI news agency in Abu Dhabi.

“I don’t see it as being a step up, to be perfectly honest. I see it (Sauber) as an equal kind of status,” he added.

“Next year may be different,” di Resta is quoted as saying by AFP, “and I don’t know the full reasons why Nico has gone there.”

The 26-year-old, who earlier admitted he was disappointed to miss out on the grandee McLaren or Ferrari seats, said he is “content” to stay at Force India for 2013.

He is less content, however, with the current dip in his 2012 campaign.

Di Resta, admitting he is frustrated to have fallen behind Hulkenberg recently, is quoted by the Scotsman as saying the season has “petered off” in the last few races.

“The way things have turned with Nico is frustrating because I was in front,” he said.