Virgin Racing's first Monaco Grand Prix ended with disappointment today after the team's race was cut short by car problems for both drivers.
After a generally sound weekend of running in free practice and qualifying, as well as further clear signs of the performance benefits
brought by recent upgrades, the race itself came to a frustrating early conclusion, first for Timo and then for Lucas just four laps later.
Both drivers got their race off to a good start, Lucas claiming track position from Timo briefly, who then retook the place and leapfrogged the Lotus Racing car of Jarno Trulli
in the process. Lucas also gained a place and the pair were running 18th and 20th when the safety car was deployed following a crash in the tunnel. Further incidents and pit stops promoted them to 17th and 19th and they were having a strong race, resisting the advances of Fernando Alonso
who started the race from the pit lane. After 22 laps, Timo reported a damaged track rod and he stopped out on track. All hopes rested on Lucas, who made his first scheduled pit stop on his 25th lap but his race was run when he experienced a wheel problem on his out-lap.
Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
"It has been a very disappointing end to the weekend. I had a problem at the start and then lost position to Lucas, but I had a really good first lap and overtook Lucas and Jarno Trulli
at Loews. This got me into a good position behind Heikki Kovalainen and I could go a similar speed to him, but I had a bit too much tyre degradation on the rear and some problems with the brakes as well. Unfortunately in Casino corner, the rear suspension failed, which ended my race, so we now have to investigate and understand why that happened."
Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
"The first part of my race today was good. I overtook Timo and had a good fight with Fernando for a couple of laps, but then as soon as we made the pitstop we had a wheel problem that forced us to abandon the race. It has been a frustrating end to the weekend, so we need to improve for Turkey and make sure we are in a position to fight to be the best of the new teams."
John Booth, Team Principal
"A disappointing end to our first Monaco Grand Prix, but we take a lot of positives away from the early party of the weekend, where we saw good steps operationally and with the new car. The team have done a terrific job during two challenging back to back races, so it is frustrating that we were unable to achieve a better reward for them today. We will go to Turkey with the second revised VR-01 where it will help us enormously to be running the same specification of car on both sides of the garage. We look forward to a better race there in two weeks' time."
Nick Wirth, Technical Director
"Timo experienced a right rear track rod failure for reasons that we will need to investigate next week. Lucas' right rear wheel came loose immediately after the pitstop, losing drive and causing him to stop. We actually experienced problems with the left rear wheel in the pitstop and early analysis after the race shows that there are problems with all the wheels fitted during the stop. We're all very disappointed with our first Monaco Grand Prix but I'm sure we can address these issues quickly and look forward to the debut of the second revised VR-01 in Turkey."