Caterham: We have a decent car for the race

Drivers report on qualifying for the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, Round 9 of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship.

Charles Pic: “The focus for FP3 was more work on seeing how the track was evolving and preparing for quali. Carrying on from a good day yesterday and the work we did overnight we started the session with more front grip than I’d had in either Friday session and an improved balance overall. We had to make a small adjustment for the stronger wind on track today but the car felt good for the whole session and the deg levels we saw were positive. On the performance run the balance felt good so we were feeling pretty positive about quali.

“In qualifying we went for two runs on new softs. On the first run we the quick lap was pretty good but I was called to the weighbridge at the end of that run and we had an issue with the starter motor. The pitcrew had to push me back to the garage but we’d decided to go for a one lap second run anyway so we just had time to get the car back, fire it up and get back on track.

“On the final lap my pace was good but we were held up with traffic in the second sector which maybe cost us a couple of tenths, but we still finished ahead of our nearest rivals in 19th and that was the target. I do want to say thanks to the pitcrew for doing a great job to get me back to the garage and out for the final lap – a few of them have been running the tracks this year and that work paid off!”

Giedo van der Garde: “Friday had gone ok and having been through all the data from yesterday we made a few changes overnight for FP3. In the morning session we were doing some work for quali and the race and the session went ok but we were still having issues getting the front tyres up to temperature fast enough. On the first run I still had some of the understeer that had been the main balance issue yesterday, but it was now only really in the high speed section in S3, so we made a couple more mechanical changes for the next run and the balance improved. We went onto the softs for the performance run but I was still having problems with tyre temps so I didn’t really have a chance to get the maximum out of them on the first lap on the softs, but despite that it still felt like we’d made some progress from Friday.

“When quali started we went out pretty early and on the first run I had two clear laps to post a time. The first run was ok and the tyres were coming in better than they had in FP3 so we went for one quick lap on the second run. We went out with a couple of minutes left in the session but the tyres weren’t working for most of the first half of the lap and, even though the second half was much better, I’d still lost enough time in S1 that I couldn’t really get any more out of it.

“However, I think we have a decent car for tomorrow and our long run pace has been pretty good, so we’ll aim for a clean start and see how it unfolds on Sunday.” (Caterham)

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