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Van der Garde puzzled by Korea penalty
6 October 2013
Giedo van der Garde attracted more than his usual share of attention from the race stewards in Yeongam, after he was cited early in the Korean Grand Prix for forcing a rival outside the marked limits of the track.
But the Dutch driver insisted that the drive-thru penalty he received was too harsh given the chaotic mature of the opening laps of Sunday's race.
"My start was great, really strong and when everyone was moving to avoid Massa in turn three I had to push out wide to avoid contact with a few cars around me," he explained. I really don't think I'd pushed any other cars out on purpose on lap one but I was told to box for a drive through penalty because of what the stewards saw and from there my race was pretty much over.
"Without the drive through I'm sure I could have finished higher, maybe not up in 13th, but close," he insisted. "While that's obviously frustrating today, it shows how close it's getting and that's good for my motivation and the whole team."
Van der Garde also faces post-race investigation for speeding behind the safety car, but in fact it was the two safety car periods in quick succession that closed up the field and enabled him to successfully have a go on his rivals at Marussia.
"I was up close to [Max] Chilton just when the safety car came out and the team did a great job to help me get past him with a really quick stop on the first safety car lap," he said. "That sort of teamwork needs to be mentioned as it plays such a critical role in the overall race, so the boys deserve a thank you for that.
"The second safety car came out almost immediately when Mark's car caught fire and then when we restarted I had a bit of a lock up at the end of the main straight and [Jules] Bianchi got past, but within a couple more laps I regained the place and was back behind Charles in 17th," he said, referring to his team mate Charles Pic. "I had a flatspot from that point in the race but kept pushing and finally finished in 15th, just behind Charles," he added.
As for Pic, he was happy to have a clean run on Sunday and finish in 14th place just ahead of his Caterham team mate.
"That was a good race for me," he said. "I had a good, clean start but into turn three I had to go off track to avoid Massa who'd spun and lost a couple of places. I made them up and for both the first and second stints the car balance felt good.
"I was on plan when the first safety car came out so we boxed right away for the second stop and at that stage we were looking at a long final stint to the flag," he continued. "However, then the second safety car was brought out almost immediately and that obviously helped with the tyre management for the final stint.
"I did have some issues with the front right for the last few laps but nothing too bad so I got the car to the flag in 14th which is a decent result for us - not quite where we want to be but almost!" he added.
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