Charles Pic said that he was ‘quite happy’ with his qualifying performance today in Bahrain as he qualified twenty-first, and ahead of Marussia team-mate Timo Glock.
The French rookie will actually start tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix from P20, owing to a five-place grid penalty for Pastor Maldonado.
“Not an easy day today, but I am quite happy with the result,” said Pic. “This afternoon it was much hotter as forecast and the tyre degradation was maybe a little worse with the rears. We seem to have managed this quite well though and generally the team has done a good job through the day to keep pushing forward.
“The race will be tough as we will struggle with the tyres for sure, but we were quite conservative with them today so that we improve our chances for tomorrow and now we will have to see. For now, it has been good to get to grips with this track again and a good day.”
Glock did not have such a good day. He will start on the back row of the grid after wrestling with an unbalanced car and making a mistake on his qualifying lap.
“Not a very good Saturday for us,” was the German’s frank summary. “We struggled massively in terms of the car balance again this morning and also in qualifying because of too much instability at the rear under braking.
“The lap itself was not too bad until Turn 13, where I made a massive mistake and I think I lost everything in that corner. I tried to do a cool-down on the second lap, but the rear tyres were off already and we only had one set of the Soft tyres as we were trying to save them for the race tomorrow.
“So not the best at all and it is a shame that a fuel pick-up problem meant that we also dropped behind one of the HRTs as well. We'll have to see what we can do in the race now.
“We've saved tyres, which is good, but I have my concerns about the rears again for tomorrow.”
Team principal John Booth is predicting a tough race for the team tomorrow, but praised Pic for his performance today.
“A very good job from Charles today in somewhat challenging conditions, given the quite severe tyre degradation issues we have been seeing,” he said. “His solid progress in the four race weekends so far has not gone unnoticed and rightly so, as he has been applying himself fantastically well. The track evolution here has been posing a few problems, but Charles seems to have had the measure of them all weekend and his experience of racing here previously in GP2 is obviously a contributing factor.
“During Timo's first run in qualifying we unfortunately experienced a fuel pick-up problem, which left him saddled with a significantly higher fuel load for his second run to overcome this. Timo then made a mistake at Turn 13, which was a real shame because he was going well before that. Unfortunately, a consequence of that has been that we will now have to start behind one of the HRT cars tomorrow, so Timo's first mission will be to displace them before he sets about the onerous task that both drivers will face in managing the tyres through the race.
“They each have an extra set of the Soft tyre in hand and we know our race pace is strong against the cars around us. It will be a tough race tomorrow, but certainly an interesting one.”