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Rossi thrilled by latest taste of GP weekend

Alexander Rossi might have been forgiven for being a little downcast at the wet conditions for his latest F1 Free Practice experience, but nothing could take the shine off the day for the young American.
While other drivers were looking at the wet track conditions early in Free Practice 1 on Friday morning in Montreal for the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix and complaining that it wasn't worth going out when there was so little grip out there, nothing was stopping Alexander Rossi having the time of his life filling in for Charles Pic in the Caterham car for the session.

"We've been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts for the last week," said the 21-year-old American, who is Caterham's test and reserve driver. "We knew it was going to be wet, but it was still good experience to run on wets, inters and slicks, giving me the chance to try out the full range of tyres that I haven't driven before in F1.

"After the installation lap I wanted to go straight back out again!" he admitted. "For me, moving up from GP2 grip levels to F1, even though the track was wet to start with, there was still so much more grip than I'm used to that I wanted to get on with it."

Personal excitement at the opportunity - only his second run in a F1 weekends following his bow with the team last year at Spain - was quickly set aside however as the team got down to work at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"The main thing today was working to the plan and that's exactly what we did," he said. Among the new items being tested by Caterham in Canada is a brand new system for managing pit stops.

"We tried our new traffic light pitstop system for the first time today and that's another good sign of how the whole team keeps making progress," said the team's regular driver Giedo van der Garde who ran in both FP1 and FP2 on Friday. "When you see the team investing in something like the traffic light system, something that will help us perform even better in the races, it all adds to the confidence levels. Bearing in mind it's the first time we've ever used it the system worked really well."

Like Rossi, van der Garde was actually pleased by the initially wet and then changeable conditions on Friday.

"FP1 was a bit like being back in Monaco! Wet to start with, then onto inters and then slicks and I have to say it was pretty good to be driving out there in conditions that kept changing," he explained. "Both sessions for me were dominated by understeer, but towards the end of FP2 we'd found a really good setup on the long runs."

After Rossi had enjoyed his turn in the car in the morning, Charles Pic reclaimed his race seat for the later session with the Frenchman saying he was "reasonably pleased" with the way his curtailed running time had gone on Friday.

"On my first run the car had too much understeer so we tried a couple of aero and mechanical changes for the next runs and by run four, on the supersofts, we'd found a good balance, one I could start to push with," he explained. "But Sunday's going to be hotter than either Friday or Saturday, which will suit us more, so even if we don't find another good step before Sunday, I think we can maintain the race pace we've shown since Bahrain."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
07.06.2013- Free Practice 2, Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team CT03
07.06.2013- Free Practice 2, Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team CT03
07.06.2013- Free Practice 2, Giedo Van der Garde (NED), Caterham F1 Team CT03
07.06.2013- Free Practice 1, Alexander Rossi (USA) Caterham F1 Team CT03 3rd driver
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