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Karthikeyan eager to improve qualifying performances

ESPN Staff
August 16, 2012 « Vettel could learn from Alonso - Lauda | Ecclestone open to Turkey return »
Narain Karthikeyan believes he is closer to Pedro de la Rosa in the races than in qualifying © Sutton Images
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Narain Karthikeyan has highlighted his qualifying performances as an area he must improve in the second half of the season.

With HRT struggling at the back of the grid once again, the only real reference point for Karthikeyan is against his team-mate Pedro de la Rosa. After 11 rounds of the season, Karthikeyan is yet to outqualify de la Rosa and he says he must learn from his more experienced team-mate to close the gap on a Saturday.

"I think that my race performance has been very strong, with my 15th place in Monaco standing out, but in qualifying I've been a bit weaker," Karthikeyan said. "Right now I'm about three tenths behind Pedro and that's something I have to improve in this second half, no doubt about it. 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."

Looking at HRT's season as a whole so far, Karthikeyan is encouraged that the team is making progress and says that it is helped by the F112 being reliable.

"We knew the car would be pretty basic but I've been surprised by its reliability and I think it has potential to improve. And the team has surprised me even more because renewing almost 85% of the staff isn't easy and I think that we have a very good combination of people with a lot of experience in F1 and young people with a lot of hunger. But everyone is very professional and it's a real pleasure working with them.

"The change has been a big one but also a progressive one. Now the entire team is under the same roof and the facilities are really fantastic; anyone who visits them will see the intentions of a very serious Formula 1 team. I give full marks to the management who put this together and I feel very fortunate to form a part of this team which is growing. We've still got a lot to do but we're making steady progress."