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GP Week : Issue 182
Following a disappointing retirement for his rookie teammate, Charles Pic carried the flag for Caterham in Spain by chasing down the Williams of Valtteri Bottas to finish 17th. While it may be an unremarkable statistical achievement, Pic’s performance on Sunday was a feat bound to make team principals sit up and take notice. The Frenchman was able to wring the neck of a car that has been troublesome all season, finding balance where previously none existed. Pic then used his pace to challenge the (underperforming) Williams. “I’m really happy with today’s performance,” an enthused Pic said after the race. “Finishing 17th doesn’t really tell the whole story, as we ended the race right behind one of the Williams cars which shows that we’ve made some good progress this weekend.” A buoyant Pic was confident that he had the potential to pass Bottas had the blue flags turned in his favour – not a phenomenon commonly used when discussing the tail-end of the grid. “The blue flags didn’t help as without them I’d have had a much better chance of overtaking him, but it was still good that I could attack him in the last few laps,” Pic explained. “The car felt great for the whole race, particularly after my third stop when we went for a 25 lap final stint on the hard tyres and I was able to manage the degradation levels well which meant I could push right to the flag.” Giedo van der Garde had another race he’d prefer to forget after losing his right rear wheel while running in P21. Noticing that the wheel hadn’t been properly secured at his stop, van der Garde radioed to his team for advice, and was instructed to bring the car back to the pits as safely as possible. But the wheel went flying, and the Dutchman was eventually forced to enter the pit-lane minus a wheel, his car looking more like a Messerschmitt than a Caterham. The retirement didn’t dampen his spirits, with van der Garde claiming the car had definitely taken a step for ward in performance. “It’s obviously such a shame that my race ended like it did today, but sometimes these things happen. I’d had a great start and was fighting with Button and both Williams cars through the first couple of stints,” explained van der Garde. “The car felt great, really good and I was definitely having the best of the season so far. When I came in for my second stop I could feel that there was a problem with the left rear as soon as I rejoined the track. At some point the wheel came off so I tried to make it back to the garage to see if I could continue, but once the team had taken a close look it was clear I had to retire the car.” Caterham were eventually fined €10,000 for van der Garde’s unsafe release. Freewheeling Caterham F1 >>> BARCELONA 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: