Kovalainen happy, Petrov 22nd after mistake

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Japan, Circuit Suzukajp

At Caterham F1 both drivers had very different feelings about their performances today. While Heikki Kovalainen is happy to have qualified in 19th place, Vitaly Petrov struggled in the morning with the setup of his car and at a crucial moment in qualifying made a mistake, hence his 22nd place.

Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#3:
FP3: 1.35.568, 19th
Q: 1.34.657, 19th
“For me I’m pleased with what I got out of the car today. On my second run I was following Hulkenberg on the out lap and wasn’t quite able to get my tyre temperatures up to the optimum level so in the first sector on the quick lap I had a little bit of understeer, but the other two sectors were about as good as they could have been. The car’s pace on Sundays has been pretty good all year so the aim now is to have a strong race and be in the right place to take advantage of anything that happens ahead. Really, for me, I’m not worried about the cars behind me. The team is doing everything they can to keep progressing and I want to do whatever I can to help them. Laps like today, while not as quick as we’d like to be, are what I can do – not make mistakes, get everything out of the car and help push the team forwards in the right direction.”

Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#2:
FP3: 1.36.355, 20th
Q: 1.35.432, 22nd
“In FP3 we found that the car wasn’t working as well as it had yesterday in FP2 when it had felt pretty good. When we went through the data we found that the tyre temperatures weren’t coming up as well as we’d have liked and we made a couple of changes for qualifying that immediately improved the setup. On my first run the car felt much better and on my second run I was at least 7/10ths up on my previous quickest lap, but I made a mistake in turn 14 and that cost me a lot of time. Despite that I’m not disappointed with where I finished. Heikki’s lap shows that we have a gap of around 6/10ths to the cars behind and while they’re doing a good job in trying to catch up with us we’re also working as hard as we can to pull away from them and try and fight with the cars ahead. Tomorrow’s race gives us a chance to do that, and with good strategy and careful use of the tyres I think we can have a decent Sunday.”

FP3: dry, sunny, air temp 25° - 26°, track temp 35°
Quali: dry, overcast, air temp 26°, track temp 34°