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The second day of the Italian Grand Prix, which took place in Monza today, ran smoothly for HRT Formula 1 Team and its drivers. Having completed one free practice session less, Narain Karthikeyan showed his ability and quick adaptation early on in the third free practice session. In qualifying, although he didn't improve his time with his second set of tyres, he completed a good lap to finish in 22nd. His teammate Pedro de la Rosa, who struggled to feel comfortable in the car, found a better feel in the qualifying session after the adjustments made by the team. However, this time he was unable to string together a perfect lap and finished in 23rd. But the Spanish driver will undoubtedly give everything in tomorrow's race, even more so being his 100th Grand Prix.
Tomorrow's 53-lap race is expected to take place in high temperatures, just like today, which will make it an even tougher test where the team views a one-stop strategy as the most feasible option. If there are no last minute changes, Karthikeyan will start the race from 21st and De la Rosa from 23rd.
Pedro de la Rosa: "In all honesty today's qualifying session was average but the best thing was that the car performed better than in the morning. We improved our times but didn't manage to complete the perfect lap which is required at this circuit. We lacked a bit of maximum speed with the second set of tyres and I looked for some slipstream but it didn't work out and I wasn't able to put all three sectors together. That's how racing goes, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. Now we need to find the best strategy to gain some positions in tomorrow's race, but I'm confident because the car has a good pace and is consistent so, even though it's not easy to overtake, we will try until the end".
Narain Karthikeyan: "We've had very good sensations since yesterday and the car performed even better today with the set-up changes we made. The performance was better with the first set of tyres, as we faced some problems with the second set, but I'm happy with the result we achieved. We need to continue with this good standard tomorrow and try to beat our main rivals in the race".
Toni Cuquerella, Technical Director: "Monza is a low downforce circuit where we expected to have a good pace that would enable us to close the gap to the front. And that was the case. In the morning we worked on adjusting the set-up and in qualifying we opted for a level of downforce and gear ratios looking ahead to tomorrow's race. Both Narain and Pedro performed well although neither improved their time with their second set of tyres. Monza is a circuit where the smallest of errors is very costly because the straights are very long. The data we have on the tyres makes us think that the most common strategy will be one-stop as it's not a very demanding circuit for the tyres".
Check out our Qualifying gallery, here.
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