The Caterham F1 team got both cars to the finish of the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix but ultimately missed out on points again, with Marcus Ericsson finishing one place outside the top ten in 11th while Kamui Kobayashi was 13th after suffering sidepod and floor damage in an incident at the Nouvelle Chicane that cost the Japanese driver to lose downforce.
Kobayashi felt a points finish was certainly possible but was annoyed that the Marussia of Jules Bianchi hit him as the Frenchman attempted a pass on the Japanese driver. The damage meant that Kobayashi was struggling for speed from there on, and he finished three laps down in 13th.
“Even though I finished in 13th I’m really not happy as I’m sure I’d have finished in the points if Bianchi hadn’t hit me when he forced his way past,” said Kobayashi. “The car was basically un-driveable after that so just finishing is a good result, and the team did everything they could to help us finish as high as possible today – good strategy and great stops, but when you’re overtaken by being hit out of the way it’s obviously not good.
“I had a clean start, staying ahead of Bianchi and passing Chilton into turn one. Heading down towards the hairpin I avoided the debris from the Force India and was up to 15th under the safety car. With the retirements that was soon 13th and then 12th and the car felt pretty good at that stage.
“We stopped for the first time on lap 25 under the second safety car and went onto softs and rejoined in 12th with Raikkonen and Bianchi behind me. Then, as we went into the chicane after the tunnel, Bianchi hit me on the side and I had to cut through the chicane to avoid more contact.
“I don’t really know why nothing was done about that as he basically just forced me out of the way by hitting me which meant both the Marussia and my team-mate could pass and after that the car felt really bad. The impact had caused a lot of damage to the sidepod and the floor and I lost a lot of rear downforce so from that point I was losing time without being able to do anything about it.
“I managed to get the car home ahead of Chilton but with the way the race ended I think the whole team feel like we lost out through no fault of our own. We need to keep our spirits up and use this experience to make us even more determined to get ahead of our nearest rivals and we’ll just keep pushing.”
Team-mate Ericsson equalled the teams best ever result in 11th, matching the position Vitaly Petrov achieved at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2012. Having started from the pit lane, the Swede performed admirably and held off the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen over the closing laps as the Finnish driver recovered from an incident with Dane Kevin Magnussen.
“For me that was good, even though the whole team is obviously disappointed about the way it ended,” said Ericsson. “It was an amazing experience finishing my first Monaco Grand Prix and the fact we’ve equalled the team’s best ever finish today is great, it’s just a shame it didn’t mean more after the fantastic job everyone did today.
“After starting from the pitlane I was pretty quickly up with the second Marussia when the safety car came out. The balance was ok and I was in a good rhythm, ahead of Sutil and Grosjean for a few laps but couldn’t do anything to hold back Sutil when he passed me in turn six.
“When the safety car came out again we stopped for the first time for a new set of supersofts and I could really push. The whole second stint was good, as was the final one on the second set of supersofts, giving me the chance to push to the flag. I held off Raikkonen for the last couple of laps and finished 11th which, for me, is a pretty cool way to end Monaco.”
Cyril Abiteboul, the Team Principal of Caterham felt the Monaco Grand Prix was the team’s best opportunity of scoring points but was disappointed to ultimately finishing short, whereas fellow perennial back markers Marussia did score at last.
“Everyone knows Monaco can be a crazy race, and today it was so,” said Abiteboul. “It’s a funny feeling because even though this equals our best ever finish it still feels like we had the chance to score our first point as Marussia did today, but it was taken away from us despite the very good job both drivers and the whole team did today.
“We had the right strategy, we timed the stops perfectly and the pit crew performed well in a tense race. I’m proud of the fact that we had both cars there at the end of the race, even with the damage to Kamui’s car, and we have to take positives from this to help us fight back with improved performance from the car.”