Karun Chandhok will have to admit to being “amazed” after sitting out the morning practice session in Barcelona.
To both his and teammate Bruno Senna’s chagrin in Spain, the Indian rookie’s HRT car was occupied instead by new test and reserve driver Christian Klien.
Austrian Klien’s 26 laps were the first at a grand prix weekend since he practiced in a Honda in 2007, but he has been brought in by team boss Colin Kolles for his experience of 48 grands prix and three subsequent years of testing.
Before the morning session, Chandhok was quoted as saying by the BBC: “I’ll be amazed if he goes half a second quicker than Bruno; I highly doubt it.”
However, Klien was in fact exactly half a second quicker than Brazilian rookie Senna, cutting the deficit to F1’s other new teams to just five tenths.
Chandhok said: “Christian has got good experience of some good teams so he could bring something.
“The team is a little bit behind the game, so any information we can get from other people is useful. It’s frustrating for me, I want to drive the car as much as possible.”