The Caterham F1 Team can emerge satisfied from the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix...
despite qualifying in lowly positions. As such Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov only
managed nineteenth and twenty-third, respectively, so missed out on the second session.
Mercifully, though, Caterham was promoted to seventeenth and twenty-second following
penalties for Mercedes-Benz' Schumacher and Toro Rosso's Vergne. The former lost ten
places for causing a crash at the last race - the latter three for blocking a rival in qualifying.
Caterham F1 then sidestepped the first lap carnage that brought out a safety car. This
involved Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who retired after spinning with a puncture caused
by the front wing of Raikkonen's Lotus. Red Bull's Mark Webber was spun too, by Lotus'
Romain Grosjean, and Mercedes-Benz' Nico Rosberg retired after being hit by Senna's
Williams. This earned the latter a drive-through penalty. Kovalainen then continued to
finish a respectable fifteenth, with a best lap of 1:38.043. Petrov finished seventeenth
having managed 1:38.344. Whereas these results and times cannot set the world on fire –
particularly as Red Bull's Vettel recorded 1:35.774 on his way to victory – Caterham's cars
once again proved to be reliable and finished the race. This is a positive sign for the future.
Heikki Kovalainen said: "I had a fantastic start, avoided all the problems in turn one, and
passed Glock as soon as the safety car came out. I was running really well in eleventh
until the first set of stops and in that first stint the car felt great.” Vitaly Petrov added: "At
the start I had to avoid the problems in front but got through that okay and pretty quickly
settled into a good rhythm. My first stop was fine but after that we lost KERS (essentially
a power boost) and that obviously cost me time. He concluded: 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”.
By Stephen Turvil
Mon, 08 Oct 2012