Giedo van der Garde feels a stronger result was possible at the Korean Grand Prix, after the Dutchman was struck with a drive-thru penalty during the early stages of the 55-lap race. Despite the setback, the Formula 1 rookie managed to still beat both Marussia’s and finish 15th behind team-mate Charles Pic.
At the start of the race Giedo van der Garde managed to avoid the stricken Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who out-broke himself at Turn 3 and created havoc. Throughout the opening nine laps, the Dutchman steadily rose through the order to 12th before being struck with a drive-thru penalty for forcing Jules Bianchi off of the track at Turn 1 at the start. This naturally saw him plummet back down the order to last position, before he returned to the pits several laps later to complete his first of three scheduled pit-stops.
Throughout the remainder of the race Giedo van der Garde enjoyed a race-long battle with the Marussia duo of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, which eventually culminated in the former GP2 driver nursing home a heavily flat-spotted set of tyres to finish only just behind team-mate Charles Pic. Unfortunately for the Caterham duo they were unable to finish anywhere near their targeted 12th position to leapfrog their Anglo-Russian rivals, however Giedo van der Garde in particular will head to Suzuka content with his team’s improving competitiveness.
“My start was great, really strong and when everyone was moving to avoid Massa in Turn 3 I had to push out wide to avoid contact with a few cars around me.” Explained Giedo van der Garde, “I really don’t think I’d pushed any other cars out on purpose on Lap 1 but I was told to box for a drive-thru penalty because of what the stewards saw and from there my race was pretty much over. The second safety car came out almost immediately when Mark’s car caught fire and then when we restarted I had a bit of a lock up at the end of the main straight and Bianchi got past, but within a couple more laps I regained the place and was back behind Charles [Pic] in 17th. I had a flat-spot from that point in the race but kept pushing and finally finished in 15th, just behind Charles. Without the drive-thru I’m sure I could have finished higher, maybe not up in 13th, but close and while that’s obviously frustrating today, it shows how close it’s getting and that’s good for my motivation and the whole team.”
For Caterham to snatch the coveted 10th position in the Constructors’ Championship away from Marussia during the final few races, either Charles Pic or Giedo van der Garde will require a 12th place finish or higher. Admittedly such a task is only realistic if inclement weather conditions strike during a race, however it is clear that the Leafield-based outfit are able to out-perform their rivals on a regular basis. With Giedo van der Garde’s future still unconfirmed for next season, the Dutchman will unquestionably be eager to impress even further during the latter races of the season, in a bid to cement his seat for a further year alongside Frenchman Charles Pic.
Picture Copyright © Caterham F1 Team