The beleaguered Manor Marussia team knows it has a fight on its hands to be fast enough to qualify for the Malaysian Grand Prix today.
In order to qualify on merit, drivers need to lap within 107% of the fastest time of the session – or else they will need the agreement of all the other teams to allow them to start.
If the times in free practice three were repeated in qualifying, Roberto Merhi would have made the starting grid by 0.021s, but Will Stevens – who lost track time with an electrical problem – would not have made the 107% time.
“It’s going to a big challenge for qualifying,” admitted team chief Graeme Lowdon. “We want to be racing, of course. If we can get to where we hope to be, that would be great.”
When asked what time he thinks his drivers will have to achieved, Lowdon quipped: “You’ll have to ask Mercedes! It seems there is a step change between them and everybody else, it depends how fast they go.
“There is plenty more to come from us, but we just have to run our programme. It’ll be a great achievement if we get there.”