20 April 2013
Caterham bests Marussia for first time in 2013
Charles Pic claimed 'division three' qualifying honours at the Bahrain GP, but has already set his sights higher....
Charles Pic said that he would have liked a better result from qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but admitted that he was still pleased with will become 18th on the grid.
Given that he was fastest of the 'division three' runners comprising the Caterham and Marussia entries, it is hard to know quite what the Frenchman was expecting from his session, although his performance in seeing off the challenge of countryman Jules Bianchi will at least earn a place on row nine, courtesy of Esteban Gutierrez's lingering penalty from last weekend's race in China.
Pic completed both his runs on the softer Pirelli compound, posting a best time of 1min 35.283secs that kept him comfortably clear of Bianchi's 1min 36.178secs effort.
"I'm pretty happy with where we finished today,” Pic commented, “We'd obviously have liked to be a little higher up the grid but, with the package we have here in Bahrain, I think we got as much as we could today in quali, so we can be reasonably pleased.
“We have a couple of new parts here which have definitely helped us make some progress and, after a good FP3, we were well set for quali. Yesterday, the car had quite a bit of understeer, which is pretty much a direct result of putting updates at the back of the car, but the changes we made overnight gave me a much more balanced car and the final lap time today showed the progress we've made since last week.”
Although the expected fight will come from behind, particularly if Bianchi can overcome the loss of his FP1 session on Friday to battle for his accustomed spot at the front of the group, Pic is still optimistic about battling with those further up the grid.
“We need to carry that pace into tomorrow's race and, having seen relatively good deg levels on the long runs, we could have an interesting fight with a few cars ahead," he insisted.
Team-mate Giedo van der Garde also posted his best qualifying result of the year, finding a late lap time after a change of front wing settings to vault himself past Max Chilton in the other Marussia.
"For me, that was a decent qualifying session and I'm happy with where we finished up, considering the fact I'm in the same car we've raced since Australia without the new parts Charles has been running here in Bahrain,” the Dutchman revealed, “Overall, I'm pleased for the whole team as his lap-time today is a sign of what we have to come and the amount of hard work everyone's putting in to show how we can perform.
“In Spain, I'll have the same updates as my team-mate and that'll obviously mean I'll be able to compete at the level he is, but, for today, I got nearly everything out of the car on that final lap and I think I can play an important role in the race tomorrow on a track that we're clearly looking okay on."
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