HRT will take part in the United States Grand Prix
after fears that it would struggle to qualify at the Circuit of the Americas
proved to be unfounded.
Pedro de la Rosa had expressed concern that the team would struggle to beat the 107 per cent time on a circuit where both he and team-mate Narain Karthikeyan were finding it more difficult than most to get any kind of grip.
As it was however, both drivers were able to secure their places on the grid, with de la Rosa the quicker of the pair in 23rd place.
"It was not easy and still not perfect but I knew that it would be a lot better than yesterday and this morning on my out lap,” he said. “I could already feel the tyres switching on. We struggled with bringing them up to temperature all weekend and finally in qualifying we managed - both because the temperature of the asphalt picked up and we improved the balance of the car.
“The grip level is still pretty low but it felt good and hopefully it will be like this tomorrow for the race. At this track we are still far from our direct competitors and in any case, we will do our best tomorrow and fight until the end.”
Karthikeyan was forced to stop towards the end of Q1 with a fuel pick-up issue, and will start 24th and last as a result, with technical director Toni Cuquerella admitting it would be a tough race for both drivers as they deal with blue flags.
"From the first sessions, all teams have had trouble warming tyres up but in our case it is particularly difficult due to low aerodynamic support,” he said. “In the morning with the cold track we struggled to put in good lap times and the difference to the fastest time was too big. Fortunately, conditions changed for the afternoon and track temperature rose notably which, together with some set up adjustments, allowed us to get the tyres within the working temperature range.
“In our case, tyre wear is marginal therefore we expect to go for a one pit stop strategy for the race. We will have to be particularly careful when we start getting blue flags in order to avoid disturbing but also not loosing too much temperature on the way.”