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Karthikeyan wants to improve qualifying pace and beat de la Rosa

By Berthold Bouman

HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan wants to improve his qualifying pace he said in a by HRT conducted interview. “In qualifying I’ve been a bit weaker. Right now I’m about three tenths behind Pedro [de la Rosa] and that’s something I have to improve in this second half, no doubt about it,” said the Indian.

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT

Karthikeyan also hailed his team colleague, veteran Pedro de la Rosa, “Pedro is a fantastic driver with a lot of experience; he’s very consistent but also quick. The tyres have been quite difficult to get used to and Pedro has a lot of experience with Pirelli and McLaren. He’s a very good driver who hardly makes mistakes and I must learn from him to improve.”

Compared to de la Rosa, the 35-year old Karthikeyan is relatively inexperienced, but he is certainly not a rookie. He started his Formula One career seven years ago in 2005 when he signed a deal with Eddie Jordan to drive for the Irishman’s Jordan Grand Prix outfit, partnering Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro. Karthikeyan scored his first points during the controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix, he finished fourth after all teams except Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi withdrew from the race after problems with the Michelin tyres.

2005 was a reasonable season for Karthikeyan, although he crashed very hard during the last race of the year, the Chinese Grand Prix. He was unhurt and finished the season in 18th place of the Drivers’ Championship with 5 points. Jordan was forced to sell his team at the end of 2005 due to financial problems, and the new owner dumped Karthikeyan, and it looked like his Formula One career was over.

But in 2011 he made a come-back for the HRT team, and although he was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo after the European Grand Prix, he was allowed to drive during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix later that season. But at the end of the year the new owners of HRT decided to keep him for the 2012 season and thus the Indian has now officially 39 Grands Prix behind his belt.

Asked about his best race during the first half of the season he answered, “Probably Monaco. Pedro had a very good qualifying session and I had a very good race, finishing 15th. I think that, from the team’s perspective, Monaco has been the best race so far.”

When quizzed about what he would consider a successful season he commented, “From where we are now, it would be great to match and beat my team mate Pedro who has been a good benchmark. Added to that, if we finish ahead of Marussia in the championship standings that would be a successful season!”

Of course, Formula One is now on a summer break, and asked about his holiday plans Karthikeyan said, “I’m not really taking a holiday now because I’ve got a lot of activities to attend, so I’ll have to wait until the championship ends. I hope to have a small gap to spend some time with my family in India and train hard. So I will work on my fitness in the gym and come back ready to continue at the highest level.”


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