HRT were happy with their performance in China today – not only did they get both cars to the end of the race, but Pedro de la Rosa was just one lap behind the leaders at the end.
Both of the drivers and team prinicpal Luis PÃ©rez-Sala are able to see the progress that the team are making as the season goes on, and the race today in Shanghai apparently continued that trend.
“I'm happy with the race we did,” said De la Rosa. “It's true that the start wasn't great but I was able to maintain a good rhythm afterwards, especially with the medium tyres.
“We had an interesting fight with Kovalainen, which is always stimulating, and at the start we had the Marussias in our sights during various laps. Although I wasn't able to catch them in the race, we've got them right there and with a little bit of progress I'm confident we can get ahead of them.
“We leave here with a feeling that we've taken an important stride and that we're right in the fight. The overall assessment is that we've progressed in every aspect, the pit stops are better every time, our rhythm is improving and the team is more of a unit.
“It will be difficult to see much of a difference in Bahrain because there is no time to introduce upgrades but we can progress in terms of teamwork and set-up”.
Narain Karthikeyan, who finished two laps behind the leaders, did not sound quite as happy as his Spanish team-mate at the end of the race:
“My start was also quite poor, so we still have to do some work on the start system because it's still new,” said the Indian driver. “It was quite difficult to drive on the option tyres because we had a problem and the car was moving a lot on the straight, we are yet to identify what the reason was for that so we'll have to look into it and make sure we overcome it. But on the primes the car balance was much better and it was easy to drive.
“We set out to finish the race this weekend in China and we've achieved it, so we have to be pleased about that. Now we hope to progress a little bit more in Bahrain next week”.
Luis PÃ©rez-Sala, the HRT Team Principal, insisted that things are improving. “We're satisfied because we've met the targets we set for this Grand Prix,” said the Spaniard. “This was mainly to finish the race with both cars but there are many other things that have improved in this race with regards to the last one.
“The rhythm of both drivers was good and the tyre changes worked well. It was good for us that it wasn't too hot and there's no doubt that we still have to polish many things but I'm very happy with the work done by the drivers and the rest of the team.
“I congratulate them but we mustn't relax because in only a few days we've got the next Grand Prix in Bahrain and it won't be easy”.