The sun finally shone today, but not for long. Halfway through Q1, the rain came again. After yesterday's exploration of the handling characteristics of Pirelli's Intermediate and Wet tyres, today was the day for getting to grips with slicks.
FP3 is only an hour long and a compact ptogramme was called for so that engineers could evaluate strategy options based on the behaviour of both Primes (Hard) and Options (Soft). Both cars were out of the garages quickly, and made the best of the time available to look at a variety of mechanical and aero configurations. Both drivers started the programme on Primes before running Options late in the session in order to evaluate performance and degradation.
Qualifying started under a darkening sky and with a stiff breeze so nobody was going to be surprised by a change in conditions. Both drivers had opted for two runs, and although Timo and Jérôme set representative times, they were both looking forward to improving on their second set of tyres. As it turned out, that wasn't going to happen as although Timo left the pits as soon as he could, instead of waiting for the last moment as usual, he was greeted by a rain shower on the far side of the circuit.
By the end of the lap it was raining everywhere and it was clear that nobody would be able to improve so Timo and Jérôme's first run positions of 20th and 22nd will be where they start tomorrow's race.
“I’m quite happy with where we are today - I’m P20, I got Trulli and it was a pretty good lap. The car didn’t feel great in the dry this morning, so we made some changes, but it still wasn’t quite there. I gave it everything for that one lap though and did quite well.
We’re never quite sure what Silverstone will bring in terms of the changing weather, so I like this kind of qualifying where you just have to hammer down for a lap to get a banker in early and sure enough the rain came. With a new set of tyres you have this one magic moment to make it all come good and I just made the best of it at the right time. There was a small mistake on my part but I got ahead of my immediate competitors so I have to be pleased. I’m very excited for our home race tomorrow.”
“This morning went really well, I had a good feeling with the car. This afternoon was fine too but unfortunately with the weather changing I was unable to get a second run, which was unfortunate as I made a mistake on the fastest lap of my first run. But I think in general it’s not so bad and it should be a good race tomorrow.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“With better conditions today we were able to start our dry set-up work and tyre evaluations, although FP3 wasn’t without rain and this did mean that we haven’t quite got all the data we required from the tyres.
The rain at the start of FP3 cut short a planned long run for Jérôme
Timo performed well in FP3 but was never really with the way the car felt, particularly compared with the well-balanced car that he had in Valencia. Working with his engineers he made some fairly comprehensive set-up changes before qualifying, which is always a risk. However he was happier with the car in his first run and posted an impressive lap. The rain at the start of FP3 cut short a planned long run for Jérôme, which would have given us more tyre data. However, Jérôme used the opportunity to complete some set-up work that ultimately both cars benefited from. It’s a shame Jérôme didn’t get the second run in qualifying, as I’m sure he would have improved.”
By: Marussia Virgin