Charles Pic is pleased that Caterham have established such a sizeable gap over closest-rivals Marussia during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix today at the Hungaroring.
Pic will line up 19th on the grid ahead of his teammate Giedo van der Garde, with the impressive feat being that he finished over seven-tenths ahead of Marussia’s leading driver Jules Bianchi and almost one second ahead of Max Chilton.
“In Q1 our goal was to finish ahead of Marussia and we’ve achieved that with both cars, actually with a bigger gap than we’ve seen for a while, so I’m pleased with how the session went,” Pic explained in a team statement after qualifying.
Further to that, Pic is confident that if he can look after his tires he will be able to challenge some of the drivers in the midfield with Sauber and Williams both struggling to establish much of a gap to Caterham this season.
“Our deg levels have been pretty good on the mediums and we’ve already seen that we can push a couple of cars ahead in race conditions, so, even though the gap to the midfield is there, I’m already looking forward to a strong race tomorrow.”
Pic has emerged as the leading driver from the bottom two teams in recent races, but Marussia currently occupy P10 in the constructors’ championship by virtue of Jules Bianchi’s 13th place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.
“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.
“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”
Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.
He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.
The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.
“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.
“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”
Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.
A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.