Caterham: A solid double finish which we really needed

Caterham team and drivers report from the Malaysian Grand Prix, Round 2 of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, at Sepang International Circuit:

Kamui Kobayashi, car #10, chassis CT05-03: “13th in our second race of the season is a very good result for the team, especially after such a bad weekend until the race! I had a great start, and no brake problems this time going into turn one, and by the end of the first lap I was up to 16th, running at the same pace as Sutil just ahead and with the car performing much better than it had all weekend.

“We were looking at what was going on around us and with the good tyre degradation we had we adapted the strategy and decided to go long on the first stint on Options, finally boxing on lap 15, going out again on another set of Mediums which were working well right from the first lap of the second stint. I was ahead of Chilton and found really good pace on the new set of tyres and I went after the Saubers ahead and was catching them fast. We stopped for the second time on lap 32 and went onto the primes for the final stint, knowing it would be a long run to the flag but also knowing that if we kept it on the track we could have a good finish, and that’s how it turned out.

“13th place in Malaysia puts us back in tenth in the championship and gives everyone the sort of boost we needed. There’s still a huge amount of work to do and a lot of today was new for me – that was the first time I’ve driven the car on full tanks on these tyres and we obviously have to keep putting more performance on the car so we can really fight one or two of the teams ahead. That looks like it’s a realistic target at this stage, but for now, focusing on today, finally we’ve had a good day and we should be happy about that.”

Marcus Ericsson, car #9, chassis CT05-01: “First I want to thank the boys in the garage for working so hard to fix my car after yesterday’s accident. I was feeling a bit low last night, but to have finished my first full grand prix in 14th, helping us move up into tenth place in the constructors’ championship, is a great feeling, for me and for everyone at Caterham.

“My start couldn’t have been much better – I passed both Marussias and was right up with Kamui by the end of lap one in 17th, having made up five places. I was quickly into a good rhythm and keeping pace with my teammate but about ten laps into the first stint I started having some issues with the rear grip which was costing me a bit of time.  We boxed for the first time on lap 11 but had a problem during the stop and I came out behind Chilton and Vergne. The second stint was really good – to be honest I was a bit surprised that I was fighting Raikkonen but he and Vergne made a couple of moves on me which I was able to defend, and then I went after Chilton. We boxed for another set of new Options on lap 26 and I came back out ahead of the Marussia and focused on pulling away from him.

“I stayed ahead of Chilton after the third stop for the Primes and from there I just wanted to get the car home. It was all OK until the last couple of laps when I started losing power, and I finished just ahead of the Marussia at the line as he’d been almost able to catch me with the ERS issue, but that 14th place, by 0.1 seconds, is what puts us into tenth so I’m really glad I could hang on. That tiny margin also shows that every single detail counts at this level of competition, and the tiniest advantage can make a big difference.

“It’s been a tough weekend, really tough for everyone, but we’ll head to Bahrain knowing we have something to build on, and something to defend. That’s a big positive and I can’t wait to get back in the car in a few days time and start all over again.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “A busy but fun race for us, with a solid double finish which we really needed after two difficult weekends. Kamui did a great job to finish a strong 13th, as did Marcus who finished his first full race in 14th. We kept tweaking Kamui’s settings over the race to give more driveability, energy and fuel management from the Power Unit and let him fight on track and Marcus also had a good race, but it got a bit difficult towards the end when we picked up some issues with the ERS. We started to lose some power to both MGUs on Marcus’ car but we made it to the flag, which was very important. We will look at what happened and correct for Bahrain.”

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