Charles Pic has expressed satisfaction after a strong performance during the Spanish Grand Prix, where the Frenchman managed to finish 17th after the 66-lap race despite starting 22nd and last. Although Giedo van der Garde failed to finish the race, Caterham managed to end the race weekend ahead of arch rivals Marussia.
Despite a disappointing qualifying performance for Charles Pic, who was out-qualified by team-mate Giedo van der Garde for the first time this season, the Frenchman bounced back in tremendous form during the race to finish 17th close behind the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. After various issues during the race, both Marussia drivers were prevented from mounting a serious challenge to the Frenchman as he steadily rose through the order towards the back of the pack.
After a slightly uncompetitive start to the season for Caterham, which has seen them out-performed by Marussia throughout the opening few races, it seems the Leafield-based outfit has finally rediscovered their form of the previous season. For the Spanish Grand Prix, the outfit introduced a whole host of new upgrades to their CT03 which immediately had a positive effect. Despite finishing a strong 17th, Charles Pic believes he could’ve overtaken Valtteri Bottas for 16th, however the blue flags prevented him from doing so.
“I’m really happy with today’s performance.” Enthused Charles Pic, “Finishing 17th doesn’t really tell the whole story as we ended the race right behind one of the Williams cars which shows that we’ve made some good progress this weekend. The blue flags didn’t help as without them I’d have had a much better chance of overtaking him, but it was still good that I could attack him in the last few laps. The car felt great for the whole race, particularly after my third stop when we went for a 25 lap final stint on the hard tyres and I was able to manage the degradation levels well which meant I could push right to the flag.”
The 23-year-old Frenchman now heads to the Monaco Grand Prix full of confidence after his 17th position around Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, and is adamant that there is still more to come from the team’s upgrades introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend. With qualifying mightily important around the Principality, Caterham will be striving to optimize their upgrades accordingly to out-qualify Marussia.
“There’s still more to come from the parts we brought here, quite a bit more in fact, so we’ll work on that back at the factory and see how much more we can extract for the next race in Monaco.” Continued Charles Pic, “That’s obviously going to be busy for me and the whole team, but after seeing the pace we had today, more to come from the race five update and the fact the team has been strong there in the past, I think it could be a really interesting weekend for us.”
With a high attrition rate expected next time out for the Monaco Grand Prix, Caterham could well manage to rise above their Anglo-Russian rivals should they manage a strong and clean race weekend. To do this, the outfit requires a 12th place finish or higher, after Jules Bianchi’s masterful drive to 13th at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Picture Copyright © Octane Photographics