Vitaly Petrov bounced back from a crash in final practice to outqualify Caterham teammate Heikki Kovalainen for just the third time all season in Singapore. The Russian brought the red flags out late in FP3 after slamming into the wall at turn 21 and owed a great deal of thanks to his mechanics after they repaired the car in time for qualifying.
“I’m really happy with how quali went today. It’s my Father’s birthday and the performance is my present for him. He told me this morning “don’t push too hard” and then I went and crashed the car in P3! The boys did a fantastic job in the garage to repair the car and it was actually all ready 15 minutes before Q1, so thank you very much to them for putting in such a great effort.”
Petrov qualified 19th with Kovalainen three tenths behind in 20th and the Finn admitted he’d been struggling throughout the weekend.
“Honestly it’s been a tough weekend for me so far and today’s performance wasn’t really any better. I’ve been struggling to find a decent balance in every session and that definitely affected me today. Despite that this is the type of race where anything can happen so I hope we can have a better Sunday and leave here on a positive note.”
Technical Director Mark Smith was encouraged by the performance gained through the upgrades brought to Singapore and hopes this will be the start of a late-season resurgence.
“First I want to thank the team for the excellent work they did between FP3 and qualifying to repair Vitaly’s car, and give him what he needed to put in the performance he did in Q1. It is good to see that we have started to unlock the potential of the new parts we have brought here and the aim is to make sure we keep progressing. We have had a difficult last couple of races but everyone has redoubled their efforts and the lap times we saw in qualifying are the first signs that we are heading in the right direction.”