F1 » 7 July 2012
HRT happy with qualifying choices
It was a qualifying session that defied even the most experienced and brilliant race strategists on pit lane, and HRT were happy with their decisions in the tricky conditions
The two HRT drivers were never going to be far from the back row of the starting grid for the British Grand Prix, but that doesn't mean that the team can't satisfaction in its decision-making performance in a very tricky qualifying session.
"This was probably the toughest qualifying session, because you didn't know what you were going to find," said Pedro de la Rosa. "Towards the end of the session they asked me through the radio if I wanted to change to dry tyres and I looked up to the sky and didn't know what to go for because some parts of the track were dry, others wet, so we continued on intermediates and the strategy was to push on every lap as if it was the last one.
"As for tomorrow's race, there aren't many options because this is a high downforce track, both in wet and dry conditions," he said. "We used a set-up with a medium suspension, not too hard, because I doubt it will be a fully wet or fully dry race, so we have to be flexible."
His team mate Narain Karthikeyan described the qualifying session as "a big lottery."
"At some stages it was raining heavily in one part of the track and not on another," he explained. "The car was really good in the dry this morning but English weather is very unpredictable and it turned things right around."
Karthikeyan will at least start ahead of Charles Pic, whose technical problems continued into qualifying and left the Marussia not only last but also outside the 107% limit, although given the erratic conditions at Silverstone on Saturday it would be a harsh decision by the stewards not to allow Pic to start the race from last place.
"We beat one Marussia, which is good, but we always want to do better," said Karthikeyan. "These conditions are a gamble and for us it's better to race in wet conditions because anything can happen. You just need to stay calm and take the opportunities that present themselves."
HRT's technical director Toni Cuquerella was particularly happy that the team now had the experience to call the right strategy even under the most difficult conditions.
"The first five minutes were the most important and we doubted whether to go for a risky strategy, with dry tyres, or go for intermediates like the rest," he explained. "In the end we went for the latter and it was the right decision because the rain got stronger.
"The times in these conditions aren't realistic because many mistakes occur, there's traffic, you have to find the right moment on track," he added. "But despite all of this the drivers did a good job. Tomorrow will be a very open race where you can either win or lose a lot."
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