MARUSSIA Virgin Racing team principal John Booth has acknowledged the Dinnington-based team selected the wrong strategy for Timo Glock in Shanghai.
Although Virgin recorded their first double race finish of the season at the Chinese Grand Prix yesterday, Glock ended up in 21st position, one place below teammate Jerome d’Ambrosio. Glock was out-qualified on Saturday by d’Ambrosio, who outpaced the German by more than half a second.
By the end of the first lap in the race, Glock had overtaken d’Ambrosio. The German pitted after 16 laps while d’Ambrosio followed him in four laps later.
Rotherham-born Booth said both cars had planned a two-stop strategy but they opted to switch Glock to a three-stop race because his tyres appeared to have degraded quicker than d’Ambrosio’s. Booth praised d’Ambrosio for bringing the car home for the second time in the opening three fly-away races.
But he admitted: “His (Jerome’s) two-stop strategy proved far superior to the three-stop we decided upon for Timo and more suited to what our competitors were doing. Following some feedback in the race from Timo regarding the degradation he was suffering with the rear tyres, we were perhaps a little too quick to convert him to three stops. Our predictions pre-race were that this would be worse and with the benefit of hindsight we can see it was not the way to go.
“We didn’t help Timo and when he had a problem during his final stop he lost quite a bit of time and had to fight hard to catch the HRT again and overtake.”
Glock said: “We suffered a bit more rear degradation for some reason. The team then took the decision to convert to a three stop race but this was not the right way to go because we suffered massively with the blue flags. Then in the last stop the wheel didn’t go on, which cost me a few seconds.”
Brit Lewis Hamilton passed Sebastian Vettel with four laps to top the podium. Red Bull’s Vettel, who started on pole for the third race in a row, crossed the chequered flag in second while his teammate Mark Webber claimed third having started 18th on the grid after technical issues in practice were compounded by a timekeeping error in qualifying which culminated in him exiting the session at the first hurdle.
McLaren driver Hamilton got the better of championship leader Vettel to record his 15th career win and his first since August.
“I’m overwhelmed. It feels like a long time since I was sitting here,” said Hamilton, now second in the drivers’ standings, 21pts behind Vettel. “I feel proud and grateful for the hard work the guys put in. I’m looking forward to many more great races like this.”