August 25th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Only one Caterham finished the Belgian Grand Prix, but there was nonetheless plenty of reason for the team to be pleased with how the weekend went. Giedo van der Garde qualified an impressive 15th on Saturday and then followed that up with a strong drive to 16th in the race. Charles Pic retired from the race due to an oil leak.
Pic was not too concerned about the retirement, reflecting perhaps that he had at least avoided damaging his engine. He said after the race:
“We started on a set of options and I was off the line cleanly with no problems on lap one. I passed both Chilton and Bianchi and by lap eight was catching my teammate but then I was told to box as we had an oil leak so we stopped the car to avoid any damage to the new engine we used today.
"Racing’s sometimes like this – we had good pace on Friday and Saturday, the car felt well balanced and we’d made some progress. While today’s race obviously didn’t go to plan I’m not down about it – we have another chance in Monza in two weeks to continue to build on the gap to our nearest rivals and I’m sure we’ll bounce back there.” The Frenchman said.
Giedo van der Garde had a strong early part of the race, as he explained: “My start was good. I had clear space going into turn one and held 14th place until mid-way through lap two, but then it wasn’t really possible to hold off some of the cars who’d started behind us.
Realistically, we’d expected that to happen so I was focused on pulling away from Bianchi and Chilton and giving myself a big enough gap to manage the race we’d planned."
There was rain forecast for the race, but it failed to materialise. Changing weather conditions could have helped van der Garde to take further advantage of his grid position, but in the event it was not to be.
Van der Garde took positives away from the weekend, which has been his strongest in Formula One so far.
“Overall this has been a really good weekend. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it had rained today, but for what was effectively my first home F1 race I think we got the maxi um for the car.
Saturday was an incredible feeling and I’m really pleased we could give the team, our partners and the fans such a lift in quali – now we have to make sure we can do the same for the rest of the season whenever the chances come our way.” Giedo van der Garde said.