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Caterham duo splash out of rain-hit Q1
16 March 2013
Caterham Racing's two cars will line up on the back row of the grid in Albert Park for the start of the 2013 F1 Australian Grand Prix, after both Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic suffered accidents during the rain-hit Q1 session.
Van der Garde was the first driver to hit problems in the atrocious conditions in Melbourne on Saturday when he slid off the road at turn 5 just three minutes into the session, damaging his front wing. He was able to tour back to pit lane and have a new nose fitted to the car to enable him to carry on.
"The delays at the start of qualie obviously weren't ideal, but I was very calm and looking forward to getting out there," said the Dutch driver. "It was obviously the same conditions for everybody and it was very tricky out there.
"I hit a puddle on my first run and span off, which meant I had to pit for a new nose," he continued. But the boys did a good job to get me out again quickly and we were looking good."
The rain eased toward the end of the session, with the full wet tyres throwing enough water off the race line to entice all the drivers into a risky late switch to intermediates to try and steal a place in Q2 as the times tumbled with every passing second.
"With a few minutes left in Q1 we switched to inters and the car felt great," said van der Garde. "On my last run I was well up but I had to back off for double yellow flags and that was the end of my chance. It's a shame as I know we'd have finished higher, but sometimes it's like that."
One of those double yellow flag incidents was for van der Garde's team mate Charles Pic, after the Frenchman spun on the back stretch and ended up hitting the wall.
"We made the call to switch to inters with about five minutes left of the session," explained Pic. "For the first lap it was very tricky - there was a lot of standing water and it was hard to keep the car on track, but it improved pretty quickly and I was starting to push."
But then it was disaster for Pic as he battled hard to get within the 107 per cent cut-off time: "I touched the white line which caused me to spin and I made contact with the barrier which meant I had to pit.
"Until that point I was much faster, but didn't have the luck you sometimes need," he confessed. "Sometimes qualifying goes like it did today. We obviously didn't finish where we wanted to but for much of the session we looked pretty good, especially halfway through the session when we were putting in pretty good times."
Pic still didn't get under the 107 per cent cut-off as a result of his late spin, but the race stewards are likely to give him leave to start the race given the nature of the rain-hit Q1 session. That means both drivers now need to look for the silver lining to starting from the back row on Sunday afternoon.
"Starting where we are we just have to make sure we can avoid any problems at the start, and concentrate on getting to the end of what will be my first Grand Prix," said van der Garde. "If it's raining again at least we know what the
track's going to be like so I'm looking forward to it."
"Our pace was good in the conditions today, similar to a number of cars ahead," said an optimistic Pic. "That speed gives us reason to be positive."
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