As we get ready for the first United States Grand Prix in five years, there was an interesting twist—for me at least—in qualifying. The session was interesting as the teams marched out in Q1 with some of the heavy hitters running option tires up front but the conventional theory in the paddock is that the hard tires are easier to get temperature into and they will be the go-to compound in the race.
One of the success stories from qualifying was the performance of Marussia as they held off the Caterham F1 team to take 19th and 20th on the grid. The race for the coveted 10th position in the World Constructor’s Championship means millions and Timo Glock, along with his teammate Charles Pic, did their best to keep Caterham on their heels for Sunday’s race. Timo said:
“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.”
The other good news s that Timo was just over 0.9s behind the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo. That’s quite a performance from Marussia and my hunch is, the efforts of the entire team coupled with the consultative work of Pat Symonds is starting to pay dividends.
Many believed Caterham F1 were the team to watching in 2012 as the first “new team” to make the jump to the midfield instead of being permanent back-markers. Armed with KERS and a Renault engine, the team were supposed to make a big leap but that hasn’t happened. Could Marussia be a team that does the impossible?
A Cosworth engine and lack of KERS surely couldn’t beat Caterham could they? Actually, yes they can and they will reap big dividends in doing so.