Di Grassi only man of new teams to finish

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

Virgin Racing’s Lucas di Grassi finished the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix in 15th place, the only car from the new teams still running at the finish. Timo Glock failed to finish as he had to stop with a hydraulic failure on his car.

The team had opted to start with Timo on Prime tyres and Lucas on Options, and an early safety car meant that Timo would be forced to stay out, while Lucas, like his rivals, could benefit from the opportunity and switch to the longer-lasting Prime tyre.

At the restart, Timo was running in 10th place for nine laps, until the faster cars of the established teams were able to hustle their way past, and the team’s focus switched to the battle for the new teams. Timo was running well, pulling out a gap to Heikki Kovalainen, who was in turn being hounded by Lucas. But before Timo could build a large enough cushion to pit and still stay in front, the Safety Car was deployed for the second time, leaving Timo no alternative than to pit earlier than planned.

The timing turned out to be disastrous for the team, as Kovalainen was ahead of the safety car and able to establish a whole lap advantage over Lucas and Timo. A fault in the hydraulic system forced Timo to retire with ten laps to go but Lucas continued to the finish, taking the new team honours when Kovalainen’s Lotus spectacularly caught fire.

After a strong race helped by smooth and fast pit work, the team looks forward to the next race in Japan, with the expectation that the planned aero upgrades will further reduce the gap to the established teams.

Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25:
“A very good result overall and I have achieved my target for Singapore. We opted to pit during the first safety car period but we were very unlucky with the second, which made us lose a lot of time in the race. After that I just focused on getting to the finish. The car was feeling better and better and I was improving my lap time, so overall I’m happy with my performance today.”

Timo Glock, Race Driver #24:
“I got a reasonably good start to the race but both Lotus cars were able to overtake me. I was then able to retake Trulli at turn 7 and it was quite good putting pressure on Kovalainen. At the first safety car we tried to stay out, which worked out okay and I was running as high as P10. I stayed in front of all the other guys for a few laps but when Sutil overtook me there was no chance to keep the others in the pack behind me. When he passed I couldn’t recover quick enough because the tyres were dirty as a result of having to go offline. We were just unlucky with the second safety car. I had to come in for tyres and we just ended up behind. Then a few laps from the end we had a problem with the hydraulics and our race was over. So now we look forward to the next one in Japan where we have more of our upgrade package and that should help us a lot.”

John Booth, Team Principal:
“Well done to Lucas who had a solid run to the flag to be the leading finisher for the new teams. He also set the fastest lap of the new teams. We tried a different strategy with Timo, starting on the Prime tyre and staying out during the first safety car. He had a good battle with the midfield cars early on, but was unlucky with the timing of the second safety car. Unfortunately he suffered a hydraulic problem towards the end of the race. Overall though it has been a positive weekend and once again the teamwork has been great.”