Kamui Kobayashi was the only man at the finish today for Caterham F1 as he finished the Bahrain GP in 15th place. Team mate Marcus Ericsson stopped earlier with an oil leak on his Renault engine.
Kamui Kobayashi, car #10, chassis CT05-#03, 15th: “I had an ok start but had an issue on lap one with a setting that gives us full boost and energy release – we sorted that out quickly and I passed Marcus for 18th, then went after Bianchi who I caught and passed on lap 10.
“My race pace was good in the first stint and the tyre deg was what we’d expected so we stuck to the strategy and boxed for the first time on lap 15 for another set of options. I came out behind Marcus and Chilton but got in front of them both and went after Maldonado in 16th but with the performance level of the car now I wasn’t able to catch him.
“We were on a two stop strategy so we came in for the mediums on lap 35. I was fighting with Gutierrez but let him go as he was on a different strategy and there wasn’t any point ruining that set of tyres just to race him, but then the safety car came out and I was able to make up the lap and was up with Maldonado and Grosjean just as the safety car came in.
“After the restart I had to save fuel so couldn’t keep pace with the pack and that was pretty much the end of my race. Finishing 15th isn’t great but we really couldn’t do any more today. We’ll have to regroup for China and with a few updates we have for that race we’ll aim to make progress there.”
Marcus Ericsson, car #9, chassis CT05-#01, DNF: “My start was good and I was up to 17th by the end of lap three, fighting with Grosjean and then went after Bianchi. The car balance really didn’t feel great and Kamui had better pace than me in the first few laps plus my tyre deg wasn’t great so we made our first stop on lap 11 at the same time as Chilton – the guys did a good job and I came back out still ahead of him at the start of the second stint.
“The car still didn’t feel great on the second set of tyres and I couldn’t hold back the Marussia or Kamui who was on a different strategy to me. I kept pushing up to the second stop on lap 26 when we went onto the third set of options and came out ahead of the Marussia again but then after a few more laps I lost power and was told to stop the car because we had an oil leak.
“It’s obviously disappointing not to be able to finish the race, especially as the car was feeling much better as the fuel level dropped. Still, for me it’s another part of the learning process and with every lap I’m racing my education continues. Now we have a couple more days of testing in Bahrain and then it’s off to China for another new track for me. We’ll have some new parts there so we’ll work on optimising them with setup and come back fighting in Shanghai.”
Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “Yet again both drivers did a good job with all the settings and were able to race on pace with both Lotuses, Marussias and Saubers. The chassis-engine package is improving with each session as we understand more about its strengths and the aim is clearly to keep this upward trend going. Unfortunately Marcus’ race came to an end due to an oil leak, which was linked to an issue with the MGU-H. On Kamui’s car we were forced to save fuel at the end of the race as we gained a lap under the safety car, but we’re now looking forward to the test next week and the next race in Shanghai.”