It was not the greatest qualifying session for HRT F1 Team as Narain Karthikayen's session came to an early end as he suffered a broken brake disc on his F112. Team mate Pedro De La Rosa drove a clean lap in the end, only to find it was no match to the team's competitors.
Despite the improvement to the set-up of the cars and the feeling of the drivers in the morning with the soft tyres, in qualifying and with supersoft tyres the difference to the rivals was greater.
The team is now focusing on tomorrow’s 55-lap race where factors such as the start, tyre wear, pitstops and driver ability will come into play. De la Rosa will start from 22nd position and Karthikeyan from 24th after the stewards’ decision to let him race after the performance shown in practice. The team is anticipating a two-stop strategy.
Pedro de la Rosa, F112-02 #22:
FP3: 24th (14 laps) 1:42.882
Q: 23rd (7 laps) 1:42.881
"We did a more than acceptable qualifying session; especially the second lap which was pretty good. But we had a lot of understeer and as a result were unable to post a perfect lap. The difference to our rivals isn’t what we expected, but it seems that at this circuit their car is working better than ours. In any case, I’m satisfied with qualifying and more so with our pace with the soft tyres. Tomorrow, as always, we will go out giving it our all but we must continue working to get closer to our rivals”.
Narain Karthikeyan, F112-01 #23:
FP3: 23rd (15 laps) 1:42.845
Q: 24th (1 lap) DNS
"We were in quite a good position after the third free practice sessions as I’d adapted very well to the circuit and the car was performing great. But once again I was unlucky this season and we had a mechanical issue on the first lap of qualifying. Now we must analyze the problem to fix it and avoid it from springing up again. Tomorrow we will try to recover those positive vibes”.
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal:
"Today wasn’t one of our best days. In the morning’s practice sessions we witnessed an improvement in the performance of the cars and the drivers finished with better sensations than yesterday. But in qualifying things didn’t go so well. Narain, on his first lap, suffered a broken brake disc and was unable to go out. Luckily both him and the car are well and now were investigating why this happened. And Pedro completed a good lap but our rivals were much better. Tomorrow will be a long race and the tyres and pitstops will play a key role so we will try to do the best job possible to make the most of an opportunity tha may arise”.