Saturday at Singapore proved to be another tough slog for the Caterham F1 Team, although it could at least take some consolation in splitting the two Marussias in qualifying at the Marina Bay Circuit.
Kamui Kobayashi qualified 20th-fastest in the opening knockout qualifying session with a time of 1:50.405 – his fastest of the weekend – while teammate Marcus Ericsson was slowest after his track time was compromised by an electrical issue at the end of FP3 which was still being sorted by the time qualifying began.
The Swede’s car was in several pieces at the start of the 20-minute session, but his mechanics put in a Hurculean effort to get him out on track in the final minutes. Unfortunately he had to spend all three of his timed laps watching his mirrors for faster drivers, and as a result was slowest of the 22-car field by some margin.
“It’s been a tough day,” he said, not without a hint of understatement.
“In FP3 this afternoon we had some electrical issues and no telemetry, so it was a challenging start and a big stress for the team in between sessions, but in the end we were able to get out into Q1.
“I have to thank the team for their efforts to get me out in time to set a lap time but I’m disappointed with the overall result as we could’ve done better today if it hadn’t been for the technical problems. It was a compromised qualifying session, which is a shame, but it certainly was a great recovery and I look forward to the race tomorrow – it will be challenging but fun.”
Teammate Kobayashi was briefly at the head of the four-car battle with rivals Marussia, until a late effort from Jules Bianchi bumped him to 20th on the grid for Sunday’s 61-lap race. After a troubled Friday practice where he’d told RichardsF1.com he had no confidence in the car, he was understandably more upbeat after finding significant gains through set-up changes.
“We did our homework and we improved the car for today. The track wasn’t in the best of conditions for FP3 so it didn’t show in the lap times, but performance-wise we are better than yesterday,” he said afterwards.
“I got the most out of the car during the qualifying session and our result was the best we could achieve tonight. Tomorrow is going to be a long and challenging race so I need to make sure I sleep well and come back tomorrow ready to fight through the streets of Singapore!”
Images via Caterham F1 Team
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