The drivers at Caterham, who will continue to use Renault power for the immediate future as unveiled earlier today in Singapore, are hoping for good progress through the race today especially if the 100 percent Safety Car stays intact. Charles Pic was still struggling with mechanical balance, even though there were strides being made towards to the overall aerodynamics of the CT-03 for the French driver, leading into qualifying.
“We made a number of changes overnight for FP3 but on the first run it felt like we’d gone too much to the rear with the balance so the car felt unstable. We’d gone from predominantly understeer on Friday to too much oversteer on Saturday,” said Pic, who said that there was still more to come from the car, as the balance shifted back to understeer when he used a new set of super soft Pirelli tyres.
But he is hopeful of having a good fight and looking ahead of Marussia, due to the advantage the cars have at present, with both drivers qualifying nineteenth and twentieth: “The good thing is that we have around seven tenths advantage over the Marussias and that’s good for us in the race as it means we can look at the fight ahead, not back.”
Giedo van der Garde felt that progress had been made on Friday’s practice sessions, but understeer and locking up the front tyres still showed that there was promise in the vehicle. Going into qualifying, he suffered traffic on the first run of just one flying lap and nevertheless continued to push: ”On my second run I was pushing hard and just touched the wall which cost me a little bit of time, but overall I guess where we finished is ok. The main thing for the team is the gap we have to the cars behind so now it’s all about the race, making sure we avoid any problems and be there to take advantage of anything that comes our way.”
The Leafield-based team are still trying to get the upper hand on the Marussia drivers of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton in the race for 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, but when you take into account the strains and stresses that all 22 drivers will have to endure over nearly two hours, a calm mind and the right decisions for strategy go a long way towards a welcome result.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic (c)