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Caterham will have to go again after indifferent Belgian Grand Prix

16:37 03 September 2012

Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen prepares for the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps. Photo: Charles Coates

Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen prepares for the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps. Photo: Charles Coates

LAT Photographic

Patience will be a virtue for Caterham as the Belgian Grand Prix followed the usual pattern for the Hingham-backed outfit.

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Heikki Kovalainen leads out a Ferrari and Red Bull around Spa. Photo: Steven TeeHeikki Kovalainen leads out a Ferrari and Red Bull around Spa. Photo: Steven Tee

The Norfolk marque was unable to make the most of retirements up ahead – including the dramatic opening corner smash at Spa-Francorchamps that left title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso out of the race.

In fact, the afternoon would have been a bad one anyway given Heikki Kovalainen’s unsafe release from a pit stop – sending him into Narain Karthikayen’s HRT.

Caterham have since been fined €10,000 for the incident.

“I had a really good start, avoided all the debris from the start line crash and was up to 10th when the safety car came out,” said Kovalainen, who came home 17th.

“There were a couple of quicker cars behind me who got past when the safety car went back in and then I made a small mistake at the last chicane, which put me back a couple of places – but I made them up quickly and was into a good rhythm just behind Vitaly.

“At my first stop we had a problem with the release from the box and unfortunately I clipped the HRT as I was heading out, bringing me back in for a new front wing. From that point all I could do was try and get back in front of the cars ahead but I had another spin with a couple of laps to go.

“I still managed to pass one of the HRTs but with the issues we had that was pretty much the end of my race.

“It’s not been a good weekend but we’ll regroup and come back fighting in Italy at the next race.”

The race was better for Vitaly Petrov, who was out-qualified by his team-mate but finished 14th and the first of the lapped cars.

“I had a pretty good race and was pushing as hard as possible all afternoon and I think I finished about as high as we could have expected,” said the Russian.

“At the start I managed to get through the accident without any problems and I was up to 13th, running well. I pitted on lap 12 and had an issue with the release but I managed to stay ahead of the pack chasing us and kept up good pace until the second stop a couple of laps after halfway through the race.

“We went onto the hard tyres and the degradation rate was good on that set so I was able to push until the chequered flag.”

The Formula One circus immediately moves on to Monza, which hosts this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix as the second half of the 2012 season starts in earnest.

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