Pedro de la Rosa was in positive mood after securing 21st on the grid for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix. The HRT driver outqualified Charles Pic in the Marussia and will also start ahead of Nico Rosberg after the Mercedes required a change of gearbox, a result which de la Rosa takes heart from.
“I’m very happy with today’s qualifying because we completed an impeccable lap. We went out with just enough time and did the three best sectors on the same lap; we risked it and it paid off. After the issues we had with the car this morning in P3, we made the appropriate changes and they worked well. We also qualified ahead of other cars and did so at such a complicated circuit, so that’s even more satisfying. For us the times aren’t important, it’s seeing the improvement and not qualifying last that matters. There are some cars with upgrades finishing behind and that’s positive”.
Teammate Narain Karthikeyan failed to lift himself off the bottom of the leaderboard once again but was hindered by traffic at the end of the session, contributing to his performance. The Indian is keen to move on from today’s result and is looking forward to the race.
“I made the most of the morning session but I didn’t have a good qualifying session as I constantly ran into traffic. I was on my flying lap right at the end of the session but on turn 15 another car hindered me and I was unable to finish it. But that’s in the past now. We have to forget about today and think about tomorrow’s race where we will fight, as always, to achieve the best result possible”.
Technical Director Toni Cuquerella was pleased to see the team get as close to the ultimate pace as they’ve been for much of the season courtesy of de la Rosa.
“We were basically starting from scratch today after yesterday’s rain so we had to focus all of our testing, for the race and qualifying, in the morning. The track improved lap by lap and it was important to continue running. And that’s what we did. Pedro completed a fantastic lap and achieved the third best qualifying percentage this season (103.7%), which proves that the F112 adapts better to medium downforce circuits. It’s a shame that Narain wasn’t able to complete a clean lap as his time doesn’t reflect his true speed. The forecast for tomorrow is dry and with slightly higher temperatures so it might be hard to predict how much the tyres will degrade. It could be a two-stop race but we’ll have to adapt our strategy on the spot since Spa is a circuit where overtaking is possible and our car has a good maximum speed”.