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GP Week : Issue 187
Often maligned for their lack of racecraft and propensity for accidents, Giedo van der Garde and Pastor Maldonado confounded the critics by picking their moments around the arciform confines of Hungary to record their best finishes of 2013. Van der Garde qualified 20th, just three-tenths off more fancied Caterham teammate Charles Pic, and thanks to a superb start was able to relegate the Frenchman down the order and move himself into 18th, the Dutchman using his capacity for lightening getaways off the line to lay the foundations of his strong race. “For most of the season my starts have been good and it was the same here,” he said. “I was ahead of Bottas by the end of lap one and keeping pace with the pack until my first stop, going onto primes.” Van der Garde’s move to the medium compound on lap eight was almost a reverse of Mark Webber’s strategy, but the Dutchman was making the plan work, moving within sight of Valtteri Bottas. “T he car felt good at that point and the tyre management plan was going pretty well. I was making up time to the Williams ahead when we stopped for the second time on lap 28 and I was 19th when I came back out, well clear of both our nearest rivals.” But the Caterham rookie didn’t have it all his own way, with Pic jumping ahead on the same strategy on lap 33. Despite the five -second gap to his teammate, van der Garde remained unfazed and was delighted to finished 14th and record his best result in Formula One thus far. “T he goal today was to beat the cars we’ve been racing all year, so the second half of the race was really about consolidating the position we were in past the half-way point,” he said. “Obviously the blue flags don’t help us as we’re having to race with one eye ahead and one behind, but we have to deal with them both on track and with the strategy, and I think the plan we had today was just about right.” Likewise, Pastor Maldonado benefitted from a strong getaway, moving from 15th to 11th by the end of lap one – all while many of his rivals were left to run the remainder of the race with wing damage. “I had a really good start from P15 and made a few overtaking manoeuvres during the race which were on the limit, which is especially pleasing at this track where it is very hard to overtake,” the Venezuelan racer said. On the back of a strong practice showing, Maldonado was confident Williams had turned the corner in terms of performance and quite possibly might be the making of the previously quick, albeit erratic Venezuelan driver. “T he car felt consistent, maybe not as fast in the second and third stints, but very consistent,” he enthused Pastor. “I really want to keep scoring points now and be even stronger during the second part of the season.” Giedo gains ground with Pastor revitalised 36 GPWEEK.com // 36 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> HUNGARY