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Turkish Grand Prix Qualifying – Marussia Virgin Racing

HOT AND COLD

Free Practice 3 & Qualifying for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix

Istanbul Park,Turkey

Saturday 7 May 2011

Day two of Marussia Virgin Racing’s preparations for the Turkish Grand Prix began with the third and final Free Practice session and, unlike yesterday, the sun was shining and the air temperature had risen to 16°C. The team continued evaluating the upgraded MVR-O2 and the new elements on both cars, as well as preparing for tomorrow’s race.

Jérôme D’Ambrosio was first out on track to complete a timed lap and Timo Glock did the same some minutes later. The track conditions continued to improve, allowing Timo to complete 19 laps and steadily evolve the car. Jérôme completed 25 laps and evaluated the behaviour of the Pirelli P-Zero tyres whilst preparing for the Qualifying session.

The air and track temperatures continued rising and for the decisive Qualifying hour the track was at 37°C with an ambient of 18°C. Both the Marussia Virgin Racing drivers completed eight laps and set their best times with the Pirelli Option tyres. Jérôme had a good final run to 20th but will have to start tomorrow’s race from 24th position after being handed a five-place penalty for a yellow flag infringement in yesterday’s second Free Practice 2 session. Timo Glock had a more frustrating time with his crucial last run and will start tomorrow’s race 22nd on the grid.

Jérôme D’Ambrosio

“Another good day for me although we had hoped for something a bit better in terms of performance. But that’s where we are at present with the new package. We need to keep our heads down and keep pushing forward, keep improving and fine-tuning it to the track. In terms of my own performance I’m happy because I  maintained the level I was at in Shanghai, which shows I have learned a lot and also applied what I’ve learned. But it’s a long road for me, I still need to understand why sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t, so I will continue to keep working hard and keep a cool head.”

Timo Glock

“Not a perfect qualifying for me for sure. I suffered some engine hesitations in turns 12-14, which we will address for tomorrow, but otherwise from my side it was okay. For some reason though, I wasn’t able to get the same from the car as Jérôme today, so we’ll have to look at the data and see if there is something we did wrong, maybe between Free Practice 3 and Qualifying, but there wasn’t so much to change so right now I can’t say. I have to focus on tomorrow now when we hope for better things and to bring both cars to the finish.”

 

John Booth, Team Principal

“Jérôme continues to impress with his rapid development and again achieved two clean Qualifying laps, finding time on his second lap in run one and again in his second run. Overall a ‘grade A’ performance with no faults. We are however disappointed that he will have to start the race from the back of the grid as a result of a yellow flag infringement yesterday, for which we the team must also take some responsibility. Having said that he faces a real ‘racer’s race’ tomorrow to recover and based on what we have seen so far I have no doubt that he will be exciting to watch.

“Overnight we made a big change to Timo’s car to remove the exhaust and floor elements of the new upgrade. Although there were clear signs that the downforce levels at the rear of the car had improved with it, yesterday we experienced a number of teething problems, especially with heat management, and it was clear that continuing to run it wouldn’t be an option for Qualifying and the race. Unfortunately this is just a natural consequence of not being able to test developments prior to bring to bringing them into the field. It is also clear that there is a big difference between the way the car is balanced for the old package versus the new upgrades and I think this goes some way towards explaining why Timo struggled a little in Qualifying. FP3 is always a tough session to get the car balanced before Qualifying. Timo’s car is also using the tyres slightly more aggressively than Jérôme and his second laps didn’t yield an improvement when it looked like this lap had the best potential. He faces a tough race tomorrow as well but we have shown ourselves to be stronger in the race and I’m hopeful that we can use a better race pace and the kind of drive he demonstrated towards the end of the last race in particular to turn things to our advantage.”