Heikki Kovalainen is hoping to be in the right position to take advantage of any mishaps in front of him after qualifying nineteenth at Suzuka. Kovalainen’s Caterham team slipped below Marussia in the championship at Singapore and the Finn has promised that he’ll continue to drive the team forward in an attempt to regain that position.
“For me I’m pleased with what I got out of the car today. On my second run I was following Hulkenberg on the out lap and wasn’t quite able to get my tyre temperatures up to the optimum level so in the first sector on the quick lap I had a little bit of understeer, but the other two sectors were about as good as they could have been. The car’s pace on Sundays has been pretty good all year so the aim now is to have a strong race and be in the right place to take advantage of anything that happens ahead. Really, for me, I’m not worried about the cars behind me. The team is doing everything they can to keep progressing and I want to do whatever I can to help them. Laps like today, while not as quick as we’d like to be, are what I can do – not make mistakes, get everything out of the car and help push the team forwards in the right direction.”
Teammate Vitaly Petrov had a nightmare session though, qualifying down in 23rd, after a mistake at Spoon ruined his final flying lap but the Russian is confident of improving tomorrow.
“In FP3 we found that the car wasn’t working as well as it had yesterday in FP2 when it had felt pretty good. When we went through the data we found that the tyre temperatures weren’t coming up as well as we’d have liked and we made a couple of changes for qualifying that immediately improved the setup. On my first run the car felt much better and on my second run I was at least 7/10ths up on my previous quickest lap, but I made a mistake in turn 14 and that cost me a lot of time. Despite that I’m not disappointed with where I finished. Heikki’s lap shows that we have a gap of around 6/10ths to the cars behind and while they’re doing a good job in trying to catch up with us we’re also working as hard as we can to pull away from them and try and fight with the cars ahead. Tomorrow’s race gives us a chance to do that, and with good strategy and careful use of the tyres I think we can have a decent Sunday.”