In a very close qualifying session this afternoon Italian racer Davide Valsecchi finished P14 for Caterham Team AirAsia, just 0.2 seconds ahead of team mate Luiz Razia who qualified P18 after 14 laps.
Unfortunately the Brazilian was held up in traffic on both sets of tyres and was unable to pass and put a quicker lap together before the scorching 30-minute session ended. Davide improved from free practice but a small imbalance in his car meant he will start midfield for the race tomorrow.
At the fastest track on the race calendar both the team and drivers are confident that with only minor changes to their setups a points finish is achievable.
Phill Spencer: "We came here for the final race weekend of our first season hoping to go out with a bang and obviously qualifying helps that, so we are a little disappointed with the results today. On the other hand we can still race well tomorrow and both cars are in good shape. The times around here are so close, we just seemed to be on the wrong part of the track at the wrong time today, but the drivers feel ok and they know what to do. We need to work hard tonight to give them a better car to race with - It's a fast track, you need a good top speed, good braking and be strong through the chicanes, so the engineers are looking at everything to find a good balance so we can have a good day tomorrow. "
Davide Valsecchi (Best time 1:33.019 / 12 Laps: / P14): "We were not able to stay in the top ten today so it has not been the best qualifying for us. We improved the car a bit after free practice this morning but it was not enough. We are working in the right direction and we need to make a few decisions for tomorrow. There was not that much degradation in the tyres today and although it will be risky starting from the middle of the grid, I hope we can be strong and finish the race in the points. It is possible so this is our goal."
Luiz Razia (Best time 1:33.206/ 14 Laps: / P18): "We didn't start very well and when a yellow flag came out early on we decided to stop and at that point we didn't have a good time, so the pressure was on to get a good time on the second set of tyres. The balance was a little out and I went off at Parabolica, so I had to improve on my last lap, which I did, but it was not enough to get in the top ten like we were this morning in practice. We have to fight tomorrow, look for the right time to pit stop and find a way to work up the field. We were hoping for better today so I am a little disappointed, but sometimes it just doesn't happen, especially when the times are so close. We are not far from the right set up, these cars are very sensitive on the aerodynamics so we'll just have to make a few adjustments for tomorrow race."
Humphrey Corbett: "Luiz was up there this morning and we thought we could get him up there again this afternoon, but unfortunately it didn't work out. He had difficulty getting a clear lap on both his outings and could never really put it together. The grid here is covered by such a small margin three tenths would have put him up ten places up the grid. A good tow off the cars in front helps a lot here but again he could not get it so he is a little disappointed. Davide had a different problem with an imbalance in his car, but he did improve his times as the rubber was laid down. We will be quite conservative with Davide's set up for the race tomorrow and he needs to pass people so it will be a different car to qualifying. There are certainly three good places to overtake here, we need a good car under braking, keep behind the cars in front, keep on the kerbs and create the best chances to overtake. We can make it happen, so as always we will do our best."
Saturday race: 15:40hrs 30 laps