The Frenchman will line up for tomorrow’s race in 18th place after tackling a difficult first qualifying session. The session started off in damp conditions but teams still fitted slick tyres. After one lap sampling the track conditions Caterham swiftly made the switch back to intermediates for qualifying.
Despite a brief spin, Pic said in a team statement that it had been a “pretty good day” for him: “It’s been a pretty good day for me. We changed the plan for FP3 when the session was delayed and continued the progress we made yesterday with a decent balance for quali. That worked out well in Q1 as it meant I had a car I could really push with and ending up ahead of a Lotus and both Marussias means we’ve achieved today’s target.”
However tomorrow’s race looks to take place in dry conditions which teams have had limited running in this weekend. Pic admitted that everyone is going into the race unsure of what will happen: “I think the race is going to be really interesting. We haven’t had any running yet in the sort of temperatures we’re expecting for tomorrow so we really don’t know too much about how the tyres will degrade, but we found a good balance yesterday on the long runs on both dry compounds and we have a lot of sets left so we can maybe try something different with the strategy.” He also admitted that the team will look through the differing options that could be taken strategy wise for the 70 lap race.
Team-mate Giedo van der Garde suffered contrasting fortunes and will prop up tomorrow’s grid. He said “FP3 was good for me, even though it was obviously cut short, but we found a balance for quali on the inters and managed to get a couple of laps in on the supersofts at the end.”
After the strong third practice session, qualifying “didn’t really go to plan” for the Dutch driver due to a few mistakes when it counted: “We went out early on inters, one of the first on track, and the times kept coming down as the dry line started to appear, but it was never right for slicks as it had been at the last race in Monaco. We went onto a new set of inters with a few minutes left but then, on my quickest lap I made a pretty big mistake that cost me about 1.5 seconds, and then on my final lap I had to back off for a yellow flag and that meant I couldn’t put in a really representative time. It’s a shame as the car felt good and I’m enjoying the circuit, particularly in these sorts of conditions, but we know we have decent race pace so we’ll put today behind us and move onto Sunday.”
Image courtesy of Caterham F1 Team