Narain Karthikeyan Pedro de la Rosa

It’s a tough job being the slowest drivers in the field, particularly in the 20-minute madcap dash that is the first phase of qualifying. You’re trying your level best to make sure you’ll make the qualifying cut, but equally you don’t want to get in the way of the faster drivers…

That’s the exact scenario that the HRTF1 drivers, Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan, both faced in qualifying yesterday.

As we all know, neither made the qualifying cut – the quicker de la Rosa missed out on the 107% threshold by 1.2 seconds – but both drivers earned the ire of other drivers for repeatedly getting in the way of faster cars.

After qualifying, both were summoned to the FIA Stewards’ room and issued with reprimands for their misadventures. De la Rosa was found to have impeded Heikki Kovalainen, while Karthikeyan (never known as a driver with a great respect for blue flags) carved up Fernando Alonso early in the session.

Perhaps of greater interest was that Fernando’s Ferrari F2012 – which everyone here in the Media Centre has called ‘Clifford’, because it’s a big, red dog – didn’t have the straightline speed to get by Karthikeyan (whose DRS was malfunctioning) on the start/finish straight…

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.