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The United States Grand Prix continued today at Circtuit of Americas, Texas, for the HRT Formula 1 Team with the third free practice and qualifying sessions. The unusual timings, with the sessions taking place at earlier times than normal, didn't help on improving yesterday's issues with bringing the tyres quickly up to temperature in the morning session. However, HRT Formula 1 Team drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan spent all session on track working on optimizing the cars' set up on the two tyre choices.
Track temperature rose by 15 degrees for the first round of the qualifying session and De la Rosa and Karthikeyan managed to put in a good performance with 12 and 10 laps respectively, in order to qualify 23rd and 24th ahead of tomorrow's 56-lap race. Karthikeyan's session came to an early end due to an issue with the fuel during his second qualifying attempt, which should be solved for tomorrow.
Pedro de la Rosa: "It was not easy and still not perfect but I knew that it would be a lot better than yesterday and this morning on my out lap. I could already feel the tyres switching on. We struggled with bringing them up to temperature all weekend and finally in qualifying we managed. Both because the temperature of the asphalt picked up and we improved the the balance of the car, but grip level is still pretty low. It felt good and hopefully it will be like this tomorrow for the race but at this track we are still far from our direct competitors. In any case, we will do our best tomorrow and fight until the end."
Narain Karthikeyan: "Driving was quite challenging in the morning because it was difficult to bring the tyres up to temperature. But things improved a lot in the afternoon with a much warmer track. The tyres and the car performed much better and we managed to put in a few good laps. I think we could still have improved on the last laps but the car suddenly stopped. We had a problem with the fuel pick up that we are now looking into it but we don't expect it to be a problem for tomorrow's race."
Toni Cuquerella, Technical Director: "From the first sessions, all teams have had trouble warming tyres up but in our case it is particularly difficult due to low aerodynamic support. In the morning with the cold track we struggled to put in good lap times and the difference to the fastest time was too big. Fortunately, conditions changed for the afternoon and track temperature rose notably which, together with some set up adjustments, allowed us to get the tyres within the working temperature range. In our case, tyre wear is marginal therefore we expect to go for a one pit stop strategy for the race. We will have to be particularly careful when we start getting blue flags in order to avoid disturbing but also not loosing too much temperature on the way."
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