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Caterham happy to bring both cars home
18 March 2013
The Caterham F1 team was reasonably happy with the outcome of the 2013 F1 Australian Grand Prix, after both cars lasted the distance and came home safely albeit two laps down on race winner Kimi Raikkonen.
"That wasn't too bad a race for us," said Charles Pic, now in his second year in F1 after moving to the team from Marussia over the offseason. "Of course we'd prefer to finish higher but I think that at this stage of the season this reflects our current performance levels."
Pic added, "We know that it's going to be similar to this for the first few races, but with what we have coming it's going to be a really interesting season."
"For me that was a reasonable start to my F1 career," agreed his rookie team mate Giedo van der Garde as the team packed up and prepared to depart Melbourne. "It was really important to finish my first race and that's exactly what I did so I'm pretty happy with how it ended up.
"I've said all through pre-season that the first races are a chance for me to learn and today was really good for that," he continued.
Both drivers experienced teething problems typical for the first full-distance Grand Prix run of the year for a brand new car, but tyre management wasn't among them. While the drivers suffered from the same rapid drop-off in the pace of the supersofts that all the other teams saw, it was a different story when back on the prime tyres.
"When we went onto the mediums the degradation levels were very good so we were able to push the second stint much longer than we'd planned and that gave us a chance to fight," said Pic, encouraged by how light the CT03 had proven during the main part of the race.
"Unfortunately towards the end of the race we had a KERS failure which obviously cut our outright pace and prevented us from taking full advantage of the good tyre wear we saw on the primes," he sighed. "We have quite a few small details we need to work on for the next race but it's good to have a real fight on our hands, good for the team and the fans so let's see how this progresses.”
Van der Garde had a better time of it than his team mate in the early race on the option tyres.
“I started the race on the supersofts, passed a few people in the first turn and was keeping up with Bianchi until the first pitstop, even with the deg levels on the option tyres," he said. Unfortunately, after that his race was compromised by damage to his tyres that threw off his race strategy for the rest of the race and left him running last on track at Albert Park.
"Unfortunately I had a slow puncture on the first set of mediums and that cost me time and position," he revealed. "We had to stop much earlier than planned to put a new set of mediums on and that meant a change to the strategy.
"But it's all good experience for me," he added. "I've said all through pre-season that the first races are a chance for me to learn and today was really good for that.
"I feel good physically and now we have a lot more information about tyre wear and how to manage, that so we'll take that to next week's race Malaysia and see what we can do at our first home race of the season."
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