Despite qualifying last yesterday, Caterham’s Charles Pic managed to beat both Marussias in the Spanish Grand Prix today and finish seventeenth.
“I’m really happy with today’s performance. Finishing 17th doesn’t really tell the whole story as we ended the race right behind one of the Williams cars which shows that we’ve made some good progress this weekend. The blue flags didn’t help as without them I’d have had a much better chance of overtaking him, but it was still good that I could attack him in the last few laps. The car felt great for the whole race, particularly after my third stop when we went for a 25 lap final stint on the hard tyres and I was able to manage the degradation levels well which meant I could push right to the flag,” the Frenchman said.
“It’s good to have a Sunday like this as I hadn’t really been able to get the most out of the new package on Friday or Saturday, but it felt good right from the first lap today. There’s still more to come from the parts we brought here, quite a bit more in fact, so we’ll work on that back at the factory and see how much more we can extract for the next race in Monaco. That’s obviously going to be busy for me and the whole team, but after seeing the pace we had today, more to come from the race five update and the fact the team has been strong there in the past, I think it could be a really interesting weekend for us,” he added.
There was disappointment for Pic’s team mate, Giedo van der Garde, however. The Dutchman qualified the best of the “new” teams yesterday, but failed to finish the race today after losing a wheel early on.
“It’s obviously such a shame that my race ended like it did today, but sometimes these things happen. I’d had a great start and was fighting with Button and both Williams cars through the first couple of stints the car felt great, really good and I was definitely having the best of the season so far. When I came in for my second stop I could feel that there was a problem with the left rear as soon as I rejoined the track. At some point the wheel came off so I tried to make it back to the garage to see if I could continue, but once the team had taken a close look it was clear I had to retire the car,” he said.
“As I say, it’s a shame but it’s another lesson for me and the team. Sometimes you don’t have the luck, but we have a lot of positives to take from this weekend. The updates on the car are working well, and we have more to come. Our race pace is really good, strong enough to fight with a few cars ahead and my quali performance was easily my best this year. Next up we go to Monaco, a track I know well and one where I was on the podium twice last year in GP2, and in Formula Renault 3.5, so another qualifying performance like I had in Spain, and a race like I had until retiring today, and I think we can do well,” he concluded.