While all eyes will be on the front rows of the grid for the start of the 2013 F1 Spanish Grand Prix, it's never simply all about Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull
and Lotus - or even seeing whether McLaren's woes are as bad in race trim as they've appeared so far in Barcelona.
The other teams largely relegated to the lower half of the grid also have their hopes and aspirations for today's race at the Circuit de Catalunya
- not the least of them being Williams' Pastor Maldonado, who is seeking to recapture some of the glory he came by here last year.
"We're having a difficult time with the car at the moment," the Venezuelan admitted. "But we have been working very hard to improve things. We were missing a lot of grip which made it difficult to get a good time today. In terms of performance, we're not there but we will keep focussing on the work needed to move us up the grid."
"I still think we can climb up the grid as our race pace looks good," added his team mate, Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas who will start one spot ahead in 16th. "I still think we've made a step forward and we're heading in the right direction ... Hopefully we can keep making the same steps race-by-race."
cars failed to make it through to Q2 in qualifying on Saturday, putting them in the company of Marussia and Caterham. Giedo van der Garde won the 'battle of the back row' this week and will start from 18th place.
"We made a few changes to the car overnight to try and find a balance with the new parts and it's worked out really well," said the Dutch driver after a successful qualifying run. "There's more to come, in the race [Sunday], and with more new parts for the rest of the year and this is a great way to kick off the
Unfortunately van der Garden's more experienced team mate Charles Pic
didn't get the same boost in Barcelona and anchors the starting grid in 22nd place.
"On the positive side, we know we have good long run pace and I think we can have a decent race," Pic insisted. "The weather's supposed to be a bit warmer and that'll suit our car better than the cooler conditions we've had so far this weekend. Our pitstops have been good all year and our tyre degradation here has not been too bad on both compounds, so I think we should be okay for the race."
In between the Caterhams are the two Marussias, and although Max Chilton
said that he was looking forward to the race despiet starting from 21st position, his team mate Jules Bianchi
confessed that his car was not well-balanced on Saturday and that he's struggled to get the best out of it on his way to 20th on the grid.