Caterham Japan GP review: Tough weekend for duo as they look forward

Caterham driver Hekki Kovalainen waves to the crowd ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. Photo: Steven Tee Caterham driver Hekki Kovalainen waves to the crowd ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. Photo: Steven Tee

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
12:41 PM

Hingham-backed Caterham showed glimpses of improved pace at the Japanese Grand Prix – but both drivers are hoping for more at Korea this weekend.

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Caterham's Vitaly Petrov in action at Suzuka. Photo: Charles CoatesCaterham's Vitaly Petrov in action at Suzuka. Photo: Charles Coates

Heikki Kovalainen ran as high as ninth after the early safety cars before coming home 15th ahead of Timo Glock’s Marussia, while Caterham team-mate Vitaly Petrov was 17th.

“I had a fantastic start, avoided all the problems in turn one and passed Glock as soon as the safety car came out,” said Kovalainen. “I was running really well in 11th until the first set of stops and in that first stint the car felt great. I was keeping the pack behind me and tyre wear on the softs was good.

“We went onto the hard tyres for the second stint and, again, wear rates were excellent. We were even thinking about doing a one stop race but towards the end of the stint they started to go off so we came in with ten laps left and from there it was all about making sure we got to the flag without any problems.”

Caterham remain behind 10th-placed Marussia in the constructors’ championship – a place the Hingham marque will be desperate to regain, with a finish in 12th or better, before the end of the season.

Petrov added: “At the start I had to avoid the problems in front but got through that OK and pretty quickly settled into a good rhythm. My first stop was fine but after that we lost Kers and that obviously cost me time. I also had a problem with the radio and couldn’t hear the blue flag calls and that ended up with the drive-through penalty.

“From where I started on the grid and with the Kers issue I think I probably got as much as I could out of the car today.

“It’s been a bit of tough weekend but it’s good to see the team working so hard to keep pushing us forwards and next week in Korea we have another chance to keep fighting.”

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