A testing weekend for Marussia continued on Saturday at Yeongam in the build-up to qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.
Free practice 3 was a fast-paced session with continual set-up changes being made to cars to effect a gradual improvement. Clear progress was made but the team ran out of time at the end of the session, losing a lap of the plan for the Pirelli supersoft tyre to prepare for qualifying.
This afternoon Timo Glock and Charles Pic posted their first qualifying runs on the soft prime tyre before switching to the supersoft for the second run. Both drivers were improving and both made small mistakes – Pic in sector 1 and Glock in sector 2 – but it was Pic who fared slightly better, edging into P21 from Glock by just 0.06s.
“It was a great qualifying for me. On the first run, with the soft tyre, there was a little bit of traffic and I lost temperature in the tyres. Then for the second run we used the supersoft tyre. We lost 0.2s in Sector 1 at the braking point, but then the middle sector was very good and overall it was a positive qualifying. We have saved two sets of options for the race and now we will work to see how we can continue to improve tomorrow. I feel very comfortable with the track now and I’m enjoying it a lot – the second sector is really great! Due to the engine change we will start further back, but I think we can recover that quite quickly in the early part of the race so we can focus on keeping with our competitors.”
“It has been quite a difficult weekend for us so far. We’ve struggled with the car balance all the way up until qualifying. Things looked slightly better this afternoon and the car was certainly easier to drive. My run on the prime soft tyre was okay but then when we switched to the Supersoft I made a mistake out of turn 10, went a little wide and lost traction. A bit of a shame as I lost a couple of tenths there, but at least the car is slightly better and I think we can have a better race tomorrow.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“Overnight the drivers and engineers spent a significant amount of time analysing the balance problems in the car from FP2 and this morning the objective of the programmes for both cars was to evaluate some of the overnight set-up changes to see if they could solve the rather specific problems we were having. In the end, Timo didn’t have the best session and settled for a slight compromise, which was a little bit of an unknown going into qualifying. Charles was much happier with his steering in FP3, which had caused him significant issues yesterday, and his improved confidence was clear in qualifying. We decided on a departure from the more traditional two Supersoft runs, for the simple reason that we felt we couldn’t compete sufficiently with the cars ahead today, however, as we have so often seen, we fare much better in the race. This track is a challenge for us because of the long straights in sector 1, which leave us at a disadvantage as we don’t have KERS. It is a long lap though, so we will aim to make up the deficit in sectors 2 and 3 and by saving two new prime and two new option tyre sets, we can definitely optimise the strategy tomorrow.”