Dutchman Giedo van der Garde made perfect use of the mixed weather conditions in qualifying to put his car 14th on tomorrow's grid for the Belgian GP. Team mate Charles Pic was deprived of the same opportunity as he was called in for a weight check at a crucial moment.
Charles Pic, car #20, chassis CT03-06, 22nd: “Saturday started well for me. On the first FP3 run the car balance immediately felt better than either session on Friday, especially mid-corner so it was easier to put the car where I wanted it in the corners. Overnight we’d also improved the downforce levels so the whole package felt better. For run two we made a small change to improve grip and that also worked so we went onto the option tyres with a car that was working well and that carried through to the performance run.
“For quali the rain had started just before the session but it wasn’t too heavy so we went straight out on a set of intermediate tyres which we had good pace on in the wet conditions. My first run was good and a dry line was just starting to appear when I came in to pit. Unfortunately I was then called to the weighbridge which cost us the time needed to do three laps with the set of slicks so the team made the call to stay on the inters for the second run and unfortunately it didn’t work out. I’m obviously pleased for the team that Giedo made it through to Q2 but now my focus is on fighting for a decent finish tomorrow and with the weather looking like it could be as changeable as it was today we could have some good opportunities to fight in the race. ”
Giedo van der Garde, car #21, chassis CT03-04, 14th: “What a fantastic day! I’m so pleased for the whole team that we made our second appearance of the year in Q2, that we finished clear of the Marussias and start the race from 14th. It was a pretty brave call to be the first to go out on slicks and for the first lap it looked like it might not pay off, but then on the final lap of Q1 I had it all hooked up just right and finished the session the highest we’ve ever been in Q1. I have to say I didn’t really believe it when my engineer Juan told me where we were – I was just at the top of Eau Rouge on the cool down lap and he said I was in P3! That was such a good feeling, for me, the team and everyone who’s supported me.
“In Q2 we knew that if it stayed dry we’d be aiming for 14th and we went out on a set of mediums knowing we had to keep pushing as the track got better and better. I think there was maybe a little more laptime if we’d maybe started the run a bit later, but, realistically, not enough to go into Q3 so finishing 14th, over 0.5 seconds clear of our nearest rival was the target and we achieved it by good work from everyone.
“Saturday had started well after the guys did a good job on Friday night, making a number of changes to the car that meant I started Saturday with much better balance and with the oversteer we’d had on Friday gone. FP3 was a good session for me and we made further improvements on both runs on the hard tyres and on the mediums which were working pretty well on the performance run, but we knew there was still more to come in quali. We couldn’t have dreamt it would come together well enough for Q1 to end with me in P3, but we took full advantage of the conditions today and 14th is a just reward for being brave and taking our chance.”