SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium, Aug 24, 2013 (AFP) - Dutchman Giedo Van Der Garde was delighted to be soaked by Belgian rain on Saturday as he delivered the best qualifying session of his Formula One career.
The 28-year-old from Rhenen, in only his 11th Grand Prix, took 14th place on the grid for Sunday's race at the famous and majestic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Belgian Ardennes, his best starting slot of the year.
His Caterham team, normally perennial back-of-the-grid flops in the qualifying sessions, took a gamble on using slick tyres in drying conditions - and it paid off.
The Dutchman said: "It was a good call from me and the team. What a fantastic day! I’m so pleased for the whole team that we made our second appearance of the year in Q2
"It's the best qualifying position for me and also well clear of Marussia, our rivals, so I'm very happy.
"It's like a home race for me, lots of Dutch fans, so let's see tomorrow (Sunday) -- the weather here, you never know what it'll produce..."
Strategy and good timing was key for his success as the capricious climate of Spa started to break havoc on all teams who were scratching their heads to decide the best course of action.
"It was a pretty brave call to be the first to go out on slicks and for the first lap it looked like it might not pay off, but then on the final lap of Q1 I had it all hooked up just right and finished the session the highest we’ve ever been in Q1.
"I have to say I didn’t really believe it when my engineer Juan told me where we were – I was just at the top of Eau Rouge on the cool down lap and he said I was in P3!
“In Q2 we knew that if it stayed dry we’d be aiming for 14th and we went out on a set of mediums knowing we had to keep pushing as the track got better and better." Van der Garde concluded.
On the other side, the other Caterham car in charge of Charles Pic did not do that well, and will start from the very back of the grid (22nd).
Briton Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes took pole position with a late flying lap to push defending triple champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull down to second.