Marussia might not be contending for pole position or podium places anytime soon, but the team nonetheless believe that they have something special with their new rookie driver Charles Pic, freshly promoted from the GP2 feeder series for 2012 and starting only his fifth grand Prix this weekend in Spain.

"He is certainly exceeding all the expectations that we had of him for this stage of his d?but season," said Marussia team principal John Booth's view of Pic, pointing to Saturday's qualifying session in which Pic had "performed brilliantly, as was the case last week."

Being in a backmarker team means that it's hard for Pic to get the recognition that he deserves for his efforts and those of the team as a whole.

"We managed to improve the package for this weekend, but the gap to the cars in front today did not reflect that," said Pic, the first to admit the problem with public perception of the Marussia operation. "I feel there is more to come for sure."

But that lack of recognition and respect could also be an advantage for the team, as they hope to creep up and claim the scalps of some of the unwary bigger name teams ahead of them on the grid at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

"We always seem to be better in the race versus our competitors and I hope that will be true for tomorrow," he said. "I am happy with my position and I look forward to the race."

By contrast, his more experienced team mate Timo Glock has a troubled qualifying on Saturday, with a mistake on his first flying lap and then running into local waves yellows on his second meaning he didn't get to show his real pace.

"It just didn't come together, he admitted. "I will have to sit and analyse it and hope for better things in the race."

John Booth was also optimistic that the latest round of upgrades to the car would give both drivers a boost during the race itself.

"For the last two race weekends we have found, on Timo's car in particular, that a good balance on Friday has somehow translated into a car that is not behaving as it should have done for the rest of the weekend," Booth explained. "A lot of analysis has taken place over the past week - and at the Mugello test prior to that - and some new parts that we brought to both cars seem to have solved these problems.

"Timo reported a much improved balance on the car today, even with respect to Friday," he added. "By setting the clear goal of trying to be as close to [the cars in front] as we possibly can, we will at least be able to learn more about where our car development needs to go from here."


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