Another positive day for the HRT Formula 1 Team, continuing with its line of progression today at the Bahrain International Circuit and finishing qualifying with its drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan in 22nd and 24th position respectively.
The third practice session in the morning developed with normality and the team tried out different set-up options for the race and qualifying, besides checking that the new upgrades on the cooling system worked correctly. In the qualifying session, the high temperatures and the hard asphalt obliged the team to make the most of the soft tyres which offered only one fastest lap. De la Rosa and Karthikeyan did just that as they improved their best times by almost a second, piling the pressure on Glock’s Marussia in the final stages. The 57-lap race tomorrow presents a new challenge that HRT Formula 1 Team aims to meet.
Pedro de la Rosa: “I’m very happy to be honest. We come from not qualifying in Australia not long ago, so when I saw the times we posted I was glad. For us it’s an important jump and, sincerely, at such a complicated track for us as this one, we didn’t expect to finish ahead of one Marussia, so that’s satisfying. Tyre degradation is high and tomorrow I will have to find the compromise in the first part of the sector in order to have enough rubber for the last one to maintain some grip. We know that the race will be a three-stop or four-stop one and that we’re going to struggle, but so will everyone else so we have to go for it and do the best we can”.
Narain Karthikeyan: “Yesterday was a big struggle for me. We had a tough morning but later improved. Today we made some good progress and in qualifying the car was quite good. In sector 2 I had a misfire on my fastest lap, on turn 12, which cost me a bit of time. The amazing thing is that we haven’t done much to the car but we’re quite close to the group ahead of us and that’s very positive. We found a lot of time from yesterday to today, so we can safely say we’ve shown real progress. Tomorrow is another day and the race will be quite difficult because of the massive tyre degradation but what’s certain is that we’re heading into it fully confident that we can do it”.
Toni Cuquerella, Technical Director: “We’ve continued to progress adequately and, once again, surpassed the cut without any problems. To be more precise, this time we were in the 104.3% and much closer to our rivals. In the practice session we tried out different set-ups and the changes made worked well in qualifying so we can say we’re satisfied. Tomorrow an exciting race awaits us because we expect to see between three and four stops per car since the degradation of the tyres is high. It will also be a challenge for the brakes and the cooling in long distance as conditions will be tough. Management of all these elements will be key”.
Source: HRT F1 Team