The EQ8 Caterham Racing team secured their first points of the season in Spain, with Indonesian Rio Haryanto grabbing fifth place in the GP2 Series feature race. Unfortunately team-mate Alexander Rossi endured another tough weekend that saw his car give up on him while running strongly on Saturday.
Haryanto scored the team’s first points of the season with a fifth place finish in the feature race, and used the safety car period well to conserve his tyres enough to make a later than planned pit stop that enabled him to defend his position at the end of the race.
“I am really happy to score the first points of the season for the team,” said Haryanto. “Starting 11th was not going to be easy but I got off the line well and was patient until turns three and four where I overtook round the outside getting up to up to fifth place.
“When the safety car came out we had to decide on a pit stop strategy, I decided to stay out a little longer in order to have good tyres at the end of the race. This was the right thing to do as I had to defend hard on the last four laps.”
Unfortunately Haryanto’s sprint race ended with the Indonesian in the wall. He had made an excellent start to slip into second place behind Tom Dillmann, but Felipe Nasr overtook him into turn three. Running into turn five, Haryanto did not see Jolyon Palmer attempting an overtake, and the two drivers collided, resulting in a puncture for the Caterham and a trip into the turn seven wall.
“The start was really good and I got into turn one in second place. Felipe overtook me on the entry of turn three but at the exit of turn five I did not see Palmer on the outside and he clipped my rear tyre. As I approached turn seven I could not slow the car down due to a puncture and ended up in the wall.
“I have done my best this weekend and scored ten points for the team so I have had a positive feeling that we are heading in the right direction and I am just disappointed that I could not fight for the podium today.”
For Rossi, it was a second consecutive weekend to forget, and he remains pointless. He qualified reasonable well in eighth, but a transmission failure while running with his team-mate saw him end the feature race at the side of the road.
“Truly frustrated – there is nothing else I can say,” said Rossi. “I had an awesome start but got boxed in avoiding the accident at the first corner which slowed my progress. Me and Rio were running together and as long as we were lapping at a good pace and still in touch with the leaders after the pit stop it made sense to work together and save tyres.
“It is just such a shame as the car felt good up until the transmission failure and I definitely had the pace and the tyres to fight for a podium position.”
A lowly grid-spot for the sprint race meant he had little hope of scoring points on Sunday, but it wasn’t without a good try. The young American believed he could have reached the top ten had he not been delayed, and left Spain having felt more comfortable in the car than he had in Bahrain.
“Obviously from 21st it was going to be hard to do anything today. Saying that, we had a good car and could have finished in the top ten but I had to deal with some circumstances out of my control with another driver, which would not have been the case if we had started further up the field.
“There are definitely positives to take away from the weekend and we have resolved the issues we had in Bahrain, having tyres left to fight at the end of the race was a good feeling which looks encouraging for the rest of the year.
“We now need a positive weekend from start to finish and as Monaco is a rarity and Austria is an unknown the next few weekends will be very interesting.”