Timo Glock delivered a gritty drive for the Marussia in the Japanese Grand Prix, which enabled him to reduce the race margin to the KERS-advantaged competition to as little as four seconds - another important step in the team’s steady progression. Blue flags for the advancing race leaders were the only mitigating factor preventing Timo from further narrowing the gap in the closing stages of what was a very strong race for both driver and team. He finished in 16th place and, as was the case in qualifying, displaced Vitaly Petrov. Charles Pic was recovering well from a difficult opening stint but an engine problem led to his retirement on lap 37.
“I’m very happy to say it was a good race for us today. The start was quite a shock when I saw all the cars flying across the track. Heikki (Kovalainen) came through it quite well but I was right behind him and I was able to overtake him in the Esses. I was up to P11 but I knew that would be short-lived because we were struggling a bit with traction out of the last corner and obviously they have KERS and we don’t. Heikki got past and I continued to lose quite a lot of time in that corner afterwards - three or four tenths each lap into turn 1 and the Esses - which allowed the other guys - who also have KERS - to pass me. In general though we had good pace and were quite consistent. The behaviour of the tyre to the car was very good and we were able to stay out quite long. The first pitstop was very strong - the fourth quickest team of the race - so a great job by the crew as they work so hard on that every day. I had good pace on the prime tyre and was going well, but at last pit stop I was a little long in the box having misjudged the grip, so my mistake and sorry for that. I was then able to close the gap to Heikki so our strategy was spot-on. We were as close as four seconds at one stage but the blue flags opened the gap again. Still, eight seconds away at the end was pretty good! We have to be happy I think. We fought well, the car was a lot of fun to drive and it’s great to have a consistent car again. We continue to have better pace in the race, so we will keep working hard on our overall performance and enjoying this very positive final phase of the season.”
“Obviously it is disappointing for me to have to retire as we were coming back strong at that point in the race. It is also the first retirement for a while. The start was difficult as we had to avoid the trouble at the first corner, then on the first stint I was struggling for grip with the hard tyre. This improved when I switched to the soft tyre for the second stint. My race was going well and I was behind Timo and ahead of Vitaly (Petrov) and Pedro (de la Rosa). Unfortunately I misjudged the pit box on my second stop, going quite long, and lost a lot of time. Shortly afterwards I had to stop due to a problem with the engine. Overall it has been a good weekend and I have enjoyed my first experience of this amazing technical circuit. I look forward to another new circuit for me next weekend and a better result.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“We had a bit of a scare on the way to the grid, with Timo rightly stopping the car in the pit lane when he felt what he thought must be a problem with his left front wheel. Once we had the car safely back in the garage it was clear that he had actually struck a wheel nut lost from another team’s car when he drove down the pit lane. This could have been catastrophic for us as it could have caused a lot of damage, but when we got to the grid we gave the car a thorough inspection and were very lucky to get away with it. Timo delivered an excellent performance in the race. As has seemingly been the case for several races, we lost time in the opening stint where not having the benefit of KERS makes it difficult to maintain track position. The remaining two stints were perfect and we managed to eat into Kovalainen to be within four seconds which, by the time we had taken a final blue flag for (Lewis) Hamilton three laps from the end, had opened up to eight seconds, although we can still regard this as an improvement. Charles seemed to struggle for grip on the opening stint with the hard prime tyre and we opted to stop him early and get him onto the soft option, which allowed him to recover some time. Unfortunately, at his final pit stop, Charles got caught out by the lack of grip in the pit lane and overshot the box, which required the crew to manhandle the car back into position and he lost a lot of time. Up to this point we had been managing relatively high air consumption on the engine, which then became terminal and Charles had to retire. Overall, we have achieved our objectives of staying in touch with the competition in front. We of course need to keep going that extra mile to try get ahead of them in the race, as this will leave us in a more comfortable position in respect of the constructors’ championship.”