Virgin Racing enjoyed a positive Qualifying session in Valencia today, in which the order of fastest driver was reversed for the first time this season. Lucas di Grassi posted the faster of the two times, while Timo's lap was compromised by a mistake out of the last corner of the
Valencia Street Circuit during his final run.
In this morning's Free Practice 3 session, both drivers completed their evaluation programmes as planned. They improved steadily as the session went on, Timo and Lucas being classified 21st and 22nd respectively, but within striking distance of our main rivals and with a comprehensive set of tyre and handling information to allow evaluation of strategy for both Qualifying and the Race.
This afternoon they traded positions and Lucas will be starting tomorrow's European Grand Prix alongside Timo on the clean side of the grid.
Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
"I'm very happy to be the fastest Virgin Racing driver today. This is my debut year in F1 and I've been learning a lot with each Grand Prix. I've been getting closer to Timo's lap times and to be able to keep pace with someone with his ability and experience is a good measure of the progress I feel I am making. Your team-mate is always your easiest comparison but we are not fighting each other - we are working together to make Virgin Racing the best of the new teams. We have a lot of work to do to improve the car and our pace, so while I'm very pleased with the result today, that is where our focus lies."
Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
"Unfortunately we made the wrong decision with the tyres today. We thought things would work out with the Option tyre with a small set-up change, but I had one run on Primes and they were definitely much quicker. Unfortunately I made a mistake out of the last corner and lost around 0.5 secs, otherwise I would have been quicker than Lucas and closer to the Lotus cars. Now we have to look at the opportunities for the Race tomorrow."
Nick Wirth, Technical Director
"Lucas and his engineers continued to have a smooth weekend and he did a good job in Qualifying. I think he's having a great rookie year so far. Timo wasn't happy with some overnight set-up changes on our new development parts, and that made the tyre comparison in FP3 harder to judge. We successfully went back to the Friday settings for Qualifying, but the choice of the Option tyre for his first run was incorrect and he didn't get the most out of his last run on Primes. As ever, we'll be chasing a two-car finish in the Race tomorrow."