Caterham drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov were both slightly disappointed after qualifying in Malaysia, feeling there was more speed in the car than they showed today. Kovalainen had the edge over Petrov, qualifying 19th although he will drop to the back of the grid due to a change of gearbox, and the Finn knows he will have to be aggressive early in the race tomorrow.
“That was an odd qualifying session for me. I know there’s more time in the car because I definitely lost time on the second run on the options. I made a couple of small errors and felt the rear grip just wasn’t quite there, so there was more to come, but just not today. Tomorrow I have to make sure I get past the cars in front as quickly as possible and get on with my race. The rain that’s been predicted hasn’t fallen during a session yet but who knows what could happen tomorrow. It’s always interesting here and with the conditions we have it’ll be all about making sure we get to the end of the race and see where we are.”
Like his teammate, Petrov felt he had underperformed in qualifying and thinks the Caterham squad need to investigate how to get the best out of the CT01 on a single lap.
“We had quite an aggressive strategy here for qualifying but it didn’t quite pay off. I haven’t really had a good balance on the car in either FP3 or the quali runs and I think we need to spend a bit more time looking at how to get the most out of the tyres. Now I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The car felt great last Sunday and on the long runs we’ve done here it’s been more settled, so we’ll aim to have a good start, avoid any problems in the first couple of corners and get on with the fight ahead.”
Team Principal Tony Fernandes remains positive that they can have a good race tomorrow with their long run pace better than their qualifying performance.
“It is good to be back on track and to see how the team has developed again, particularly compared to where we were this time last year. There may have been a bit more time to be found in each car, but at the moment our car seems to be stronger in race trim than over a single lap. That is a positive as it means both Vitaly and Heikki can fight when it really counts, so we want to make sure we have a strong Sunday, avoid the reliability problems that we encountered last week and put on as good a show as we can for our home fans.”