Giedo van der Garde is understandably hopeful of more rainfall during Sunday’s 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix, with the hope of emulating his sensational performance in qualifying. During the wet/dry opening segment, the Dutchman shot into 3rd position after becoming one of the first drivers to switch to the dry tyre compound.
Only moments before the start of qualifying the ever-changing weather at Spa-Francorchamps injected further entertainment to proceedings, as the heavens opened. This forced the field to take to the track on Pirelli’s intermediate tyre compound, as a flurry of errors marked a topsy-turvy start to the qualifying hour. As the track began to gradually dry out, Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton became the first drivers to switch to dry tyres. At first their times were woefully off of the pace, as they struggled on the still damp track. However, the track gradually evolved in their favour as the Dutchman stormed into 3rd position towards the end of Q1.
Although Giedo van der Garde was eventually eliminated from proceedings after Q2, the Dutchman still managed to impress after out-qualifying both Marussias who also progressed to the second qualifying segment. Charles Pic failed to match his team-mates performance in the other Caterham, as the Frenchman was frustratingly called into the weighbridge during Q1 and then elected to remain on the intermediate tyres. With such a strong qualifying performance for Giedo van der Garde, the aim now within the Caterham camp is to try and leapfrog Marussia in the Constructors’ Championship with an equally strong performance in the race.
“I hope so, I mean it would be nice to gain a few places.” Explained Giedo van der Garde, when asked whether he’s hopeful of a competitive result in the race. “Here at Spa you never know what is going to happen, sometimes it can be a crazy race. I hope for some different conditions as that would favour me and the team, so I hope to get the 10th place back in the Constructors’ Championship; it would be wonderful for me tomorrow.”
When Giedo van der Garde eventually made the switch from intermediate tyres to slicks, the track was still perilously damp in some places. After the session, the Dutchman later explained how he so nearly returned to the pits for the intermediate tyres. Such a move could well have proved costly to his chances of progressing to Q2, however the Caterham driver decided to remain out on track and eventually created widespread surprise when he rose to 3rd position at the end of Q1.
“It was a very tough call when I went to slicks, it was very slippery I was sliding around a lot.” Continued Giedo van der Garde, “I was nearly planning on returning to the pits to put the inters back on, but once we went to Turn 12/13, it was more or less dry so I said to the team lets go for it and see what ends up and on the last lap I could make a good banker lap, which ultimately saw us progress to Q2.”
Should the weather continue to spice up the action at Spa-Francorchamps during the race, then both Giedo van der Garde and Caterham will be hopeful of taking the fight for 10th in the Constructors’ Championship to Marussia. For the Leafield-based outfit to rise ahead of their Anglo-Russian rivals, either Charles Pic or Giedo van der Garde need to finish 12th or higher.
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