Virgin Racing enjoyed their first Q2 session in Qualifying today at a rain-soaked Sepang, in which Timo Glock secured 16th position. He will line up on the eighth row of the grid for the start of tomorrow's 56 lap Malaysian Grand Prix with three world champions, two Ferraris and two McLarens in his mirrors.
On the other side of the garage it was a less happy tale for Lucas di Grassi. The team suspected a blocked filter in his VR-01 during this morning's session and had to remove the rear end during the two sessions to investigate ahead of tomorrow's race. The turnaround time being so tight, the car was still being put back together when the Qualifying hour got underway and there were heroic efforts from Lucas' team to get the car out at all in Q1. This they managed four minutes from the end of the session, by which time the track was so wet that there was no way that Lucas would be able to establish a representative time against those who completed laps on Intermediates.
In this morning's Free Practice 3 session the track was dry and Timo was able to do a couple of sessions using the Option tyre. He set the fastest lap so far of the new teams - 1:37.299 - which was only 3.757s away from the fastest lap of the session. Lucas also had a good session, completing 13 laps and setting his fastest time - a 1:38.783 - using the harder Prime tyre.
Timo Glock #24
"It's been a very good weekend for us so far. We've had no real problems with the car and we've been able to do proper work during every session. Qualifying went quite smoothly considering the rain at the start of the session. It was critical to get out on time and my lap in Q1 was really good, getting me into Q2. It was good to see us do a better job than some of the top teams and as a result they will be starting behind us. Q2 wasn't perfect though as we came in too early and that cost us the place against Heikki. In general though we have to be happy with what we have achieved today. It's great for the team and there is now a lot of motivation for tomorrow. It looks like it could be a crazy race tomorrow, so we have to stay focused - and stay on the track - and we'll see how it all ends."
Lucas di Grassi #25
"Once more some problems affected us today and we had to rebuild parts of the car between Free Practice and Qualifying. It was touch and go whether we would even get the car out at all for Qualy, but the mechanics did an incredible job and because of that we were able to do at least a couple of laps to make sure the car was working well. While it has been a disappointing day for me personally, it has been a good day for the team so we all have to be pleased for that. We look forward to the race tomorrow and hope that brings better things, including achieving our target of finishing our first race."
Nick Wirth, Technical Director
"Today has been a great day for everyone involved in Virgin Racing - a clear step forward for the team. P3 this morning was yet another smooth session with both cars, during which we continued set-up work with encouraging results. Despite still not running Qualifying fuel loads, it was nice to again demonstrate the underlying potential of this car and its unique design process. At the end of P3 we were unhappy with the consistency of fuel pressure on Lucas' car and we elected to perform a very challenging fuel filter change before Qualifying in order to maximise our chances on Sunday. Lucas' crew did a great job in getting the car out to record at least some timed laps in Q1. I'm just sorry for Lucas that we didn't get him out at the beginning of the session when the track was drier. Timo continued to demonstrate our potential in Q1 and whilst some of our more experienced competitors elected to stay in the garage at the optimum time, Timo made it through to Q2. The Q2 session was tricky. We were running with all our weather prediction services warning us of an imminent downpour, so unfortunately we ran our last set of Intermediates a little bit early, which costs us a place. Looking at our times from earlier today though, that won't matter in the race."