DINNINGTON’S Marussia Virgin Racing team achieved its objective of bringing two cars to the chequered flag in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
The honours, though, went to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who won ahead of McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov.
As the action got underway, Virgin’s Timo Glock got a good opening stint under his belt, avoiding incident and preserving his Pirelli P-Zero tyres until he pitted for the first time on lap 18.
Shortly after rejoining the track he reported a loose front left wheel and was forced to make his way back to the pits. Refitting the wheel proved problematic and Glock was confined to the garage for five laps while the team repaired damage to the drive pegs. He rejoined in 18th position and as a consequence of losing so much track time he fell further back. He brought his car home, but in an unclassified position.
Competing in his debut Grand Prix, Jérôme D’Ambrosio got a good, clean start and concentrated on ensuring his MVR-02 reached the chequered flag. He demonstrated consistent pace and acquitted himself well in his first outing for the team, crossing the line in 16th position and gaining valuable experience along the way.
Belgian driver D’Ambrosio said: “I’m happy to have finished my first F1 Grand Prix. I felt comfortable in the car, although I could have gone a bit faster at the end. But the most important thing is that we completed the race and this will give me experience which will be useful for the next races. We had a productive time and we will carry the lessons through to the next race in Malaysia.”
German driver Glock added: “We had quite a good speed in the race. I was behind Jarno Trulli, then got past him in the pitstop. Unfortunately at the pitstop a front wheel was loose and I had to drive round for one lap slowly then come into the pits. Unfortunately the drive pegs were damaged. For the first couple of laps it was okay but then the car had quite a lot of vibration, so I just tried to focus on finishing the race. It was a little disappointing but at least we brought both cars to the finish.”
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 58 1:29:30.259 25
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 58 +22.2 secs 18
3 Vitaly Petrov Renault 58 +30.5 secs 15
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 58 +31.7 secs 12
5 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 58 +38.1 secs 10
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 58 +54.3 secs 8
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 58 +85.1 secs 6
8 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 57 +1 Lap 4
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 57 +1 Lap 2
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 57 +1 Lap 1
11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 57 +1 Lap
12 Nick Heidfeld Renault 57 +1 Lap
13 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 56 +2 Laps
14 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 54 +4 Laps
NC Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 49 +9 Laps
DSQ Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 58 +65.8 secs
DSQ Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 58 +76.8 secs
Ret Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 48 Transm
Ret Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 22 Accident damage
Ret Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 19 Water leak
Ret Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 19 Puncture dmge
Ret Pastor Maldon ado Williams-Cosworth 9 Transm