Expectations were high for the qualifying session after that step forward with the balance and performance of the F112, but the notable improvement of the track conditions towards the end of Q1 meant that practically every car was out on track for the last minutes of the session, impeding Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa from finding a clean lap which would enable them improving on their initial times.
De la Rosa and Karthikeyan were separated by only a hundredth of a second and finished in 22nd and 23rd respectively.
The team heads into tomorrow’s race full of confidence after the improved performance throughout these two days and will look to employ either a one-stop or two-stop strategy, given the low degradation of both tyre compounds.
It will undoubtedly be a very special day for Narain Karthikeyan who will be racing in front of his home crowd once again after last year’s phenomenal performance.
Pedro de la Rosa: "Although we didn’t find the lap we were hoping for, we did complete a very good qualifying session. With the first set of tyres the car performed very well and I was able to complete three clean laps.
However, with the second set and with more rubber on the track when times could be improved significantly, I encountered a lot of traffic and I was unable to complete a clean lap.
The car was better today than yesterday and we could’ve been even quicker but with the traffic it was impossible. But the positive thing is that we qualified well at a difficult track and the car improved so I hope to achieve a better result tomorrow”.
Narain Karthikeyan: "Overall I’m happy with the performance we showed in the qualifying session. On my second run I made a mistake on lap 10 which cost me a couple of tenths but the large amount of cars on the track was the main problem as we didn’t find a gap to go as quick as we would have liked.
Despite this I’m happy because we finished ahead of one of the Marussias, my time was almost identical to Pedro’s and we’ve got good pace so we can be satisfied.
The car has improved and tomorrow we will try to continue progressing to achieve a good result in front of my home crowd”.
Toni Cuquerella, Technical Director: "We’ve improved since the first free practice session and extracted more performance from the car so we’re satisfied in this sense.
But in qualifying neither Pedro nor Narain had a clean lap because of all the traffic on track, especially in the final minutes. It’s understandable because the track was in better condition towards the end.
But despite not having completed better laps we’re confident that we have a good pace with both tyre options for tomorrow’s race and we’ve also noted that the degradation isn’t excessive so we anticipate a one-stop or two-stop strategy”.
Source: HRT - Formula 1 Team