van der Garde expecting Caterham to impress again

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Giedo van der Garde believes that Caterham can put in another strong performance at next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix following a fine performance by the team last time out at Spa-Francorchamps.

van der Garde finished an incredible third in the first qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix, eventually dropping out in Q2 placed a respectable fourteenth. Although he could not repeat these heroics in the race on Sunday, he eventually took the checkered flag in sixteenth place.

The Dutchman is confident that the Monza circuit will suit Caterham in Italy next weekend, hopefully allowing the team to extend the gap to closest rivals Marussia.

“It’s a track that could suit us in the fight with our nearest competitors,” he explained. “It’s often hot and it’s the quickest track of the year, one where we run very low-downforce settings and that should suit our car. Last year the team was pretty competitive and we’ll aim to make sure we are again.”

However, if Monza does surprisingly produce a wet race, van der Garde is relishing the opportunity to take a risk and hopefully benefit as he did in Belgium.

“If it’s not hot and we have anything like the conditions we did in Spa then we’ve shown we can take advantage of unpredictable weather, and even though another P3 in Q1 might be unlikely, we still know we can be bold and aggressive when there’s a chance to surprise a few people.

“Maybe our next chance will be Monza – if not I’m sure there will be other races this year when we can show what we can do.”

Caterham currently trail Marussia in the constructors’ championship by virtue of Jules Bianchi’s thirteenth-place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.