Marussia Virgin Racing

Belgium Grand Prix Qualifying – Marussia Virgin Racing

Free Practice 3 & Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Saturday 27 August 2011

The qualifying session for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix proved a challenging experience for drivers and engineers up and down the pitlane this afternoon, thanks to the changeable climatic conditions and track incidents. Marussia Virgin Racing were no exception.

The wet conditions in Free Practice 3 this morning provided Timo Glock and Jérôme D’Ambrosio with the opportunity to put both the Pirelli P-Zero Intermediate and Extreme Wet tyres through their paces and prepare for similar conditions in qualifying should they arise.

For a time it looked likely that qualifying may remain dry but then rain started to fall just a few minutes prior to the start of the session. Intermediate tyres were fitted to both cars but the conditions were mixed across the lap, with the pit lane being much drier than sector two, which was actually quite wet. The rain ceased but the track was never dry enough for slicks and seven minutes before the end of Q1, Timo decided to come in for a new Intermediate tyres, having been unhappy with his first set. On the last lap of his second run he posted a time good for 20th position.

Jérôme opted to stay out as his lap time was still falling with his existing set of Intermediates but the trade-off between tyre condition versus track condition that he’d been seeking didn’t transpire. His best qualifying lap remained outside of the 107% time but the Stewards ruled that he is able to take part in tomorrow’s race on the strength of his free practice performance throughout the weekend and the changeable weather conditions in qualifying.

Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
“In general today’s qualifying was quite okay, but for some reason we had a lot of trouble in the first stint, on the first set of tyres, because we made a change from Free Practice 3 to qualifying and maybe it wasn’t the correct one. It was really difficult. I then came in for a new set of Intermediate tyres and in general I think the lap was okay, even though on the data the lap looked more like a Rally lap! Nevertheless we got the most out of the car and I’m happy with the result.”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio, Race Driver #25
“Of course I’m a bit disappointed about the result, but I’m really happy with my pace this weekend. I think I had a good feeling with the car, I was happy with everything and my performance in normal conditions was quite good. We got it a bit wrong with the strategy – we should have pitted really. But again, it’s very difficult to decide a call like that because it might have just rained a bit earlier and then it wouldn’t have worked. So basically it could have been better but in terms of performance we are there, so it should be good for tomorrow’s race.”

John Booth, Team Principal
“This morning, with the rain at the start of the session being quite heavy, we opted to give both drivers a run on the Extreme Wet tyre to give them some preparation for these conditions should they arise in qualifying. In the event, qualifying was slightly tricky in that the rain at the start of the session was not necessarily so evident in the pit lane but certainly in the second sector it was clear the track was rather wet. We started both cars on the Intermediate tyre and it was our expectation that the track would dry. In actual fact, the second sector remained quite wet. Timo was very unhappy with his first set of Intermediates so we opted to fit a new set close to the end of Q1. In hindsight we should also have stopped Jérôme, but as his times were improving on his existing set we opted to leave him out. We are expecting a dry race tomorrow and this will provide a further challenge for both the drivers and the engineers, since we have gathered very little dry tyre or set-up data this weekend.”