Virgin Racing enjoyed a positive Qualifying session today in preparation for their debut home Grand Prix at Silverstone tomorrow.
Slightly cooler temperatures had prevailed for this morning's free practice session. Talk was mainly of bumps and kerbs, both of which caused Timo
problems; the bumps affecting his throttle sensor and the impact from the kerbs resulting in damage to his front wing. Lucas was more fortunate, being able to run through his programme and compare the prime and option tyres. He finished 20th in the session, Timo was 25th after only being able to complete six laps.
Qualifying was the most dramatic yet for the team. An extra front wing assembly was delivered to the circuit only minutes before the start of the session, but Timo was straight on the pace and continually traded times with Heikki Kovalainen on his first set of Option tyres. Lucas too was running well and it was clear that the honour of fastest new team was going to be hotly contested. Timo threw down the gauntlet but was pipped by 0.375s in the dying sessions. Timo was classified 20th and Lucas 22nd. It was a great performance by the team and a good reward for all of the effort over the last two days.
Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
"It has been quite a difficult weekend leading up to Qualifying. We experienced a lot of technical problems throughout Free Practice and I couldn't do any proper set-up work. This morning I had a problem with the throttle pedal and I didn't have any proper running on the Option tyre, so we went pretty blind into Qualifying in terms of the set-up. In the end I was quite happy with the car, even though it still isn't fully fine-tuned. However my two Qualifying laps were really good and I'm very pleased to be ahead of Lucas despite the difficulties. We're also closer to Lotus, having beaten Jarno and being only two or three tenths behind Heikki. It is really positive for the Team and shows our aero package really works. With an easier weekend I think we would have been closer to them. We now have to wait and see how the race goes for us but I'm looking forward to a good fight with Lotus."
Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
"I think we improved the car a lot since the last race. It feels much better and I'm looking forward to the Race tomorrow. For Qualifying we didn't achieve the best lap possible because I wasn't able to put a lap together and there is more to come from the car. The positive is that we are much closer to Lotus and our upgrades are proven to be exactly as we expected so I'm pleased."
Nick Wirth, Technical Director
"That was fun! It's been tough waiting for this moment, and to be in a good qualifying fight has certainly lifted the whole team. Lucas continued his great string of consistent and fast performances and the work that he and his engineers have done this weekend have been very valuable for the team. We aren't quite there on car weight with Lucas's chassis which is costing him a few tenths, but we'll get there soon. It certainly hasn't been anywhere near a smooth enough weekend on Timo's car and we got another new front wing on his car with minutes to spare before qualifying. Frankly, he did a fantastic job considering his lack of running this weekend and that's great for him. For the team, this session marks a clear step forward in performance where we have caught up Lotus and pulled further away from HRT, and it couldn't be a more public validation of our digital development process. We'll keep our heads down and focus on another strong two-car finish in front of our fans, friends and families."