Caterham Drivers Positive After Claiming Tenth-Row Grid Slots in Shanghai


Heikki Kovalainen - Photo Credit: Caterham F1 Team
Heikki Kovalainen - Photo Credit: Caterham F1 Team

 

Both Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov were optimistic of a decent race tomorrow in China after the both qualified on the tenth row of the Shanghai grid.

Kovalainen will start from 19th and, apart from a run-in with Pastor Maldonado, was reasonably happy with his qualifying performance today.

“I pretty much got as much as I could out of the car today,” said the Finn. “I made a small mistake in the final corner on my second run that maybe cost me a couple of tenths, but the car felt well balanced and there probably wasn’t any more to come in Q1.

“On my first run I was blocked by Maldonado on the back straight, so we’ll see what happens with that, but overall I’m pretty pleased with my performance so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Petrov complained of some minor problems after being out-qualified by his team-mate for the third race in a row (although Kovalainen started behind Petrov in Malaysia owing to a penalty, he still out-qualified the Russian on the Saturday).

“I’ve had a couple of issues today with finding the right balance, but on the second run in Q1 I had a pretty good lap and I think it all came together to put that time in,” said Petrov. “We know from the first two races we can fight on Sundays and we’ve looked relatively easy on the tyres, so with a good plan and a bit of luck maybe tomorrow can bring us something good.”

Technical Director Mark Smith said that the pace of Caterham today showed some good progress by the team, and thinks that the cars should be more competitive on race day.

“The team here in China and back at the factory have been working hard on some specific areas, particularly on ensuring we can get the most out of the tyres when it matters,” he explained. “Today we saw positive results on both cars, and having tweaked the setups overnight we saw Heikki record a time just under 8/10ths from the car ahead, which is a step forward for us in qualifying. Last year we were almost 1.5 seconds behind the car in front in Q1 so that shows we are progressing.

“Now we turn our focus to the race and the clear aim is to keep up the race pace we showed in Australia and Malaysia and make sure both cars cross the finish line.”