Charles Pic has described his final qualifying lap as one of his best laps of the year, after the Frenchman qualified 19th for the British Grand Prix. Despite a slightly uncompetitive start to the season with the Leafield-based outfit, the 23-year-old has since enjoyed a resurgence of somewhat as the season has progressed.
After a productive final practice session around the legendary Silverstone circuit, Charles Pic managed to end the opening segment of qualifying well ahead of both his team-mate Giedo van der Garde and the Marussia duo. During the final hour of preparations in the morning session, the Frenchman managed to improve the balance of his CT03 machine. Although the Leafield-based outfit remain behind Marussia in the Constructors’ Championship, Charles Pic firmly believes that Caterham have an advantage over their Anglo-Russian rivals and could even battle with the Williams duo during the race.
“The final lap in quali is one of my best laps of the year so far so I’m very pleased with how today’s gone.” Enthused Charles Pic, “We made some good progress in FP3 with the balance and that carried over to qualifying. It changes from race to race but it does look like we have a small advantage over our nearest rivals this weekend, but having seen good race pace all year I’d like to think we’ll be fighting with a couple of cars ahead as well in the race tomorrow. We’ve been close to the Williams cars this year in a few races so with a good start, decent deg levels and no reliability issues tomorrow could be a good day.”
Despite qualifying ahead of Max Chilton in the Marussia, Giedo van der Garde will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix from 22nd and last on the grid after receiving a five-place grid penalty following several altercations last time out at the Canadian Grand Prix. With the penalty in mind, the Dutchman’s approach to the race weekend has been centralized around race preparation, with the rookie confident with regards to his race setup despite murmurings within the paddock that Heikki Kovalainen could be set to replace him.
“It’s been an interesting day as we ran a different plan to the normal FP3 and then did just the one run in quali.” Said Giedo van der Garde, “It’s finally dry so we used some of FP3 for aero evaluation and then switched to race prep, bearing in mind the penalty from the last race which meant we knew pretty much where we’d end up in quali. We worked a lot on managing the tyre degradation, not really looking at quali at all but we still ended up beating one of the Marussia cars in quali which was a bonus, but really today’s all been about getting ready for Sunday. I think we’re in pretty good shape now and we have a good setup for the race.”
Although the mood within the Caterham camp seems rather positive, the outfit still requires a 12th placed finish or higher to rise ahead of Marussia in the Constructors’ Championship. This comes after Jules Bianchi’s masterful drive to 13th in the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier in the season, with the two outfits’ positions in the Championship dictated by their highest finish all year as they have both yet to score a single World Championship point.
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