Today's rain-soaked Canadian Grand Prix was the longest lasting race in recent history. After starting behind the Safety Car, the pack was unleashed but everyone knew that more rain would be coming soon.
This looked promising as we had based our race strategy on the weather forecasts available to us on Saturday, which had predicted plenty of rain during the race. Based on this we selected gear ratios and downforce levels best suited to those conditions, accepting the risk that should the race be dry, we would struggle somewhat.
Throughout the race the safety car was out on track on no less than five occasions, and the race was also stopped for nearly two hours when the conditions were deemed too dangerous to race. Fortunately, celebrities were on hand to entertain us, Rihanna dropping in to meet Sir Richard Branson who was with us for the weekend.
Jérôme and Timo were continually in the thick of things, racing in the midfield, and both were able to stay out of trouble for the whole race, an impressive feat considering the carnage that surrounded them.
More than four hours after it started, the winner of the race was only decided on the final lap, when Sebastien Vettel made an error allowing Jenson Button to take a dramatic win. Jérôme and Timo came home 14th and 15th, both losing out in the last laps of the race when the drying track made their wet set-ups less effective.
“It was just an unbelievable race. We were in a racing situation for about four hours. I've never experienced anything like that. It was something quite special. There were quite a lot of ups and downs - before the red flag I stopped twice and then suddenly after the restart I found myself racing with Timo and I thought, what's happening? It was crazy! Then at the last restart I lost a lot of time with the blue flags, having to go offline onto the wet to let them past and at the end I couldn't fight for position because with our wet setup I didn't have the same top speed. But It was a great race and really good experience for me.”
“It was an unusual and difficult race. I think it’s one of the longest races I’ve ever raced in! It was a bit of a shame in the last part of the race as I had quite a good pace and I managed to catch and pass Trulli. But then I had a massive lock-up on both front tyres which cost me badly at the end. I couldn’t go flat any more on the straights because of all the vibrations, so when Karthikeyan came up behind me I tried to stay in front but he made a move into the last corner and pushed me off the track. He shortcut the chicane when he overtook me and Jérôme got by in that incident too. On the last lap there was nothing I could do as the tyres were completely destroyed.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“An eventful race to say the least and one that initially looked to be playing in our favour given the level of downforce we had chosen to run.
Jérôme had quite an eventful race – starting last and finishing 14th
With Timo we held our nerve during the first part of the race, waiting for the rain that was obviously coming on the radar as we felt that a stop for intermediate tyres would have been costly. This proved to be the case with Timo being 15th at the restart. The second part of Timo’s race initially didn’t go well, with him losing places when we stopped for intermediates, however with the stops for slicks he managed to get back past Trulli. Unfortunately, during the final safety car period, we noticed in the data a flat-spotted tyre and we advised Timo but given his position we needed to try to race to the end as a pitstop would have dropped us to last. Jérôme had quite an eventful race – starting last and finishing 14th. He did a good job considering the events of the weekend. We used him at times to try out strategies with intermediates and even with this he managed to achieve a good result. All credit to him.”
Source: Marussia Virgin