In a good, straight fight on the level playing field of a brand new track, the Marussia F1 Team today achieved its objective of outqualifying not just one, but two Caterham cars at the Circuit of The Americas, setting the scene for a thrilling race tomorrow as the United States Grand Prix makes its big comeback.
The day got off to an interesting start once again, with the air temperature at just 10˚C as FP3 got underway; the track temperature only marginally higher at 12˚C.
He limped back to the garage with a damaged front wing and floor. The wing assembly was changed swiftly, however a floor change would have been a more time-consuming affair.
The damage was such that Charles would be able to safely complete the session, but the overall aerodynamic performance of his car would be affected.
Heading into the relatively ‘unknown quantity’ of a first qualifying shoot-out here with limited running was not an option, so the Team chose to gather as much mileage as possible with a compromised car.
Timo had a very positive time of it in the FP3 session and led the Team home in P19, ahead of both Caterhams, and Charles in P22.
This was a good omen of things to come in qualifying, when Timo and Charles were in impressive form from the get-go.
The session was a tough one to call, so the Team decided to roll the dice by fuelling the cars for the session and using pit stops to change tyres, in order to maximise track time.
This played out to perfection and Timo and Charles continued improving, finishing ahead of both Kovalainen and Petrov in P19 and P20.
Timo Glock: “Another good day today. I think we concentrated on the right things, although it was a challenge through FP3 to get to that point as it is hard to put a good single lap together here.
In qualifying I thought I had a strong lap and the tyres were really coming in, but towards the end I had a bit of wheel lift and the rear felt a bit strange.
I think we could have gone quicker because the tyres were improving so much lap by lap, but because of the yellow flags there was no chance for more improvement.
However, we are almost 0.8s ahead of the Caterhams and we have to be very pleased with that.
This is great development from the team and although it seems like we remind everyone every race just now, we’ve managed all that without the advantage of KERS and that is a significant point. I’m very excited for the race and I hope we can continue the good work.”
Charles Pic: “It was a good qualifying session and the most important thing is that we got both our cars ahead of both Caterhams.
Looking at the detail though, I missed some important track time this morning because of the incident with Perez and we were not able to get a good feel for the car by the end of FP3.
There was more to come for qualifying for sure and then towards the end of Q1 we hit some traffic. Overall, despite not having fully optimised our package, I am pleased with where we ended up.
It is a fantastic result for the team and to keep moving forward like this with each new race is very positive. Now we will focus on the race and take time tonight to consider the best way to play things to bring us a good result.
My thanks to the whole team for such a great job.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “Today is an important day for the whole team as it represents the culmination of the aggressive development programme we have undertaken since the mid-season.
We have demonstrated that we are now faster than the Caterhams after both cars achieved the objective of outqualifying them.
“The day got off to a less than positive start for Charles. As a consequence of the incident with Perez in FP3, he missed a significant amount of track time and had to use a compromised car for the last 30 minutes of the session, which for sure hurt his qualifying performance due to the lack of running on what has proved to be a track where mileage is essential.
Nevertheless, he did a fantastic job in qualifying and I’m sure the race tomorrow will provide him with the opportunity to demonstrate even more of his maturing talent.
Timo has had a fantastic day from the off. He and his engineers had a very productive morning in ensuring that the car was making optimal use of its tyres and also giving him good position on track.
Into qualifying we knew it would be tricky to judge the run length required, which is why we opted to fuel the cars for the session and use the pit crew to change tyres in order to achieve the optimal second run length.
This worked out perfectly and today’s performance has been a real credit to the whole race team, who have worked together both to solve the problems with Charles’ damaged car and also to play out qualifying to maximum effect.
“We are looking forward to the race tomorrow now. Tyres will be the hot topic and we must ensure we maintain this momentum and execute our strategy perfectly to enjoy another fantastic fight with the cars around us.
Marussia F1 Team