van der Garde: Caterham deserve to finish ahead of Marussia

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Giedo van der Garde has said that he hopes to record a top thirteen finish in the final two races of the season to promote Caterham up to tenth in the constructors’ championship, believing that it would be a fair result.

Both Caterham and Marussia have been embroiled in this season-long battle for P10, with the extra position resulting in greater amounts of prize money which can be crucial in developing next year’s car. Marussia currently occupy tenth place thanks to Jules Bianchi’s thirteenth place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix back in March. However, since the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, Caterham have enjoyed a pace advantage over their Anglo-Russian rivals but have lacked the luck required to see them finish so highly. Nevertheless, van der Garde is still hopeful.

“What would I like to achieve in the final couple of races? The simple answer is tenth place in the constructors’ championship for the team,” van der Garde explained in his latest ‘Rookie Diary’ on the official Formula One website. “If we do that it’ll mean Charles [Pic] or I will have finished thirteenth or higher – obviously I’d like it to be me – but for the team, and for me personally, I think that would be a fair result. We started behind Marussia in terms of pure pace and because everyone at the factory and on track worked so hard, we overtook them by Spain and have been faster ever since.”

van der Garde made his Formula One debut at the beginning of the year, and the Dutchman struggled at first before finding his feet. He has made Q2 on two occasions and recently began to establish himself as the quickest of the ‘bottom four’ runners, and he will be keen on securing a place with Caterham in 2014 despite Heikki Kovalainen being poised to return.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.