British Grand Prix Qualifying – Marussia Virgin Racing
Free Practice 3 & Qualifying for the British Grand Prix
Silverstone Circuit, UK
Saturday 9 July 2011
Timo Glock and Jérôme d’Ambrosio enjoyed a positive qualifying session for Marussia Virgin Racing’s home race, Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The day had dawned brighter than the cool and damp conditions in which the first two sessions of Free Practice were held yesterday, meaning that the team had an hour of Free Practice this morning to optimise a dry set-up for qualifying and tomorrow’s race. The two cars ran faultlessly through the reduced programme, and both drivers were able to evaluate the behaviour of Pirelli’s Hard and Soft compound P-Zero tyres during the session. There was limited scope for evaluating tyre degradation though, which means that a flexible strategy will be required for tomorrow’s race. During the session, Timo completed 18 laps, while Jérôme managed 20.
Shortly before qualifying was due to start, the skies darkened and there were forecasts of rain mid-session. All teams were able to complete their first runs, but as Timo began a run on his second set of tyres he reported that rain was falling. Very soon the rain had spread over the whole circuit and it became clear that no further improvements could be expected. Timo completed seven laps in the session and was classified 20th; Jérôme was 22nd after six laps.
“I’m quite happy with where we are today – I’m P20, I got Trulli and it was a pretty good lap. The car didn’t feel great in the dry this morning, so we made some changes, but it still wasn’t quite there. I gave it everything for that one lap though and did quite well. We’re never quite sure what Silverstone will bring in terms of the changing weather, so I like this kind of qualifying where you just have to hammer down for a lap to get a banker in early and sure enough the rain came. With a new set of tyres you have this one magic moment to make it all come good and I just made the best of it at the right time. There was a small mistake on my part but I got ahead of my immediate competitors so I have to be pleased. I’m very excited for our home race tomorrow.”
“This morning went really well, I had a good feeling with the car. This afternoon was fine too but unfortunately with the weather changing I was unable to get a second run, which was unfortunate as I made a mistake on the fastest lap of my first run. But I think in general it’s not so bad and it should be a good race tomorrow.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“With better conditions today we were able to start our dry set-up work and tyre evaluations, although FP3 wasn’t without rain and this did mean that we haven’t quite got all the data we required from the tyres. Timo performed well in FP3 but was never really with the way the car felt, particularly compared with the well-balanced car that he had in Valencia. Working with his engineers he made some fairly comprehensive set-up changes before qualifying, which is always a risk. However he was happier with the car in his first run and posted an impressive lap. The rain at the start of FP3 cut short a planned long run for Jérôme, which would have given us more tyre data. However, Jérôme used the opportunity to complete some set-up work that ultimately both cars benefited from. It’s a shame Jérôme didn’t get the second run in qualifying, as I’m sure he would have improved.”