Despite bringing a whole host of upgrades to Belgium, the Caterham F1 Team continue to see themselves propping up the grid, with Andre Lotterer and Marcus Ericsson qualifying twenty-first and twenty-second.
Grand Prix debutant Lotterer managed to out-qualify his team-mate on his first weekend in any F1 car since being a Jaguar Racing test driver back in 2002. Despite qualifying on the back row of the grid, the German was happy about how his session went, especially the two clean laps he completed at the end of the session that saw him finish the day well ahead of Ericsson, and he feels ready for the race on Sunday.
“This is definitely a speedy way of learning how to drive an F1 car,” insisted Lotterer. “Yesterday was dry while today was wet, so all this is now covered and I know exactly what to expect in both those conditions.
“I think it was a very tough qualifying session for me. I had to figure it all out while I was out there, so I’m very happy that I brought the car back without making many mistakes – it was so easy to lose it out there! In the end I managed to complete two decent laps and I’m really happy with my result.
“The most difficult part of this weekend is figuring it all out in such a short period of time: understanding where the grip is, where to brake, how to handle the throttle and the power… I’ve accumulated a lot of experience in a very short amount of time and I feel that I can do a good race tomorrow. I did some long runs yesterday and I found a good rhythm. Hopefully the conditions won’t be too tricky, because if not I will need to find out where the limit is while I’m racing – that’s my biggest concern. Nevertheless, I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s race, I’m ready for it!”
Team-mate Ericsson struggled for pace and ended the session almost a second adrift of his rookie team-mate. He felt he was always in traffic and was never able to get a representative lap time in, but knows the race will be tough whether wet or dry as the team continue to try and learn how the upgraded car is working on track.
“I think we could’ve been quite competitive in the rain but unfortunately we were in the wrong place on track all the time so I didn’t get a single clean lap,” said Ericsson. “I’m disappointed because we could’ve done much better if we had put a lap together.
“It doesn’t really matter what weather conditions we race in tomorrow, I think we’re going to have a tough race anyway, but we need to make the most of the opportunities that come up during the race tomorrow. In the dry this morning we were out early on the option tyre, so that’s why we were a bit off the pace, but the car felt a lot better today in the dry, so if there’s a dry race tomorrow I think that there’s potential to do well.”