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Kovalainen happy with qualifying despite DRS problem
1 September 2012
Caterham revealed after qualifying that Heikki Kovalainen had been struggling with an issue with his DRS system during qualifying, but he was still able to secure 19th place in the timesheets with a lap of 1:51.739s two tenths faster than his team mate Vitaly Petrov.
"By the time FP3 finished the car felt ok but I was having issues with DRS and that was obviously costing me laptime," explained the Finn. "In qualifying I had traffic on the first run and couldn't lap as fast as I wanted to on the outlap.
"On the second run my outlap was much better but the only problem was with the DRS again," he continued. "The guys had worked hard to fix it but it was still struggling to open and I could feel that in the car. Whenever I hit the button it felt like it wasn't fully activated, and around a track like Spa that's going to cost you time."
"Heikki's car had a DRS issue so we tried to resolve that before qualifying but it was not 100% successful and he went into Q1 without the full benefit of DRS," confirmed Caterham technical director Mark Smith. "In qualifying we opted for two runs on the medium tyres and ended the session in positions that are probably an honest reflection where we are in performance terms this weekend."
With Nico Rosberg set to be demoted five spots because of a gearbox penalty, Kovalainen will start from 18th position in the Belgian Grand Prix and Petrov will also get a once place boost up to 19th.
"I had a pretty decent qualifying session and I'm pleased I could get that last clear lap in as the session ended," said Petrov. "On my first run in qualie there was quite a lot of traffic and that may have cost a bit of time, but I think I got as much out of the car as I could today, so for me that's okay."
Both Caterham cars are ahead of their HRT and Marussia counterparts, but Pedro de la Rosa did at least manage to split the two Marussias with his lap of 1:53.030s putting him ahead of Charles Pic.
"I'm very happy with today's qualifying because we completed an impeccable lap," agreed de la Rosa. "We went out with just enough time and did the three best sectors on the same lap; we risked it and it paid off.
"We also qualified ahead of other cars and did so at such a complicated circuit, so that's even more satisfying," he added. "For us the times aren't important, it's seeing the improvement and not qualifying last that matters. There are some cars with upgrades finishing behind and that's positive."
However, Narain Karthikeyan will start from his traditional place at the back of the grid on Sunday.
"I didn't have a good qualifying session as I constantly ran into traffic," he sighed. "I was on my flying lap right at the end of the session but on turn 15 another car hindered me and I was unable to finish it.
"But that's in the past now," he added. "We have to forget about today and think about tomorrow's race where we will fight, as always, to achieve the best result possible."
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