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After a fantastic performance in Japan last week saw Timo Glock close the gap to Caterham to just 4.0s, the Marussia F1 Team had envisaged that today's Korean Grand Prix would be a much tougher challenge. The long straights in sector 1 should have left the team at a distinct disadvantage versus the KERS-powered competition, however today Timo narrowed that gap still further and down to a mere 0.6s for several laps in the race.
Having started P20 on the grid, Timo drove a very determined race to ensure he stayed in touch with the competition ahead throughout. He started the race on the Pirelli PZero Red Supersoft tyre and stopped twice to take on the Yellow Soft prime tyre for the middle stint and the Supersoft for the last. His pace was strong until the final few laps when the blue flags left him struggling for clear air. He crossed the line in 18th position.
Charles Pic had a difficult race, having started from the back of the grid. He lost a significant amount of time trying to get past the slower HRT cars, causing him to lose touch with his team-mate and the competition, despite demonstrating good pace later on. He ran to an identical tyre strategy and ended the race in 19th place.
Timo Glock: "I was very excited at the start of the race as I could see that we could really challenge the Caterhams. I had a big chance in the middle stint and managed to close the gap like in Suzuka. Then we took the risk to go on to the Supersoft option tyre and I was just waiting for Heikki to make a mistake. Unfortunately there was no opportunity and on the long straight he had the KERS, so I couldn't attack him. I was the first car with the blue flags which dropped me back in the final phase of the race. Also our last stint was quite long and the front right tyre really started to go away. I had a lot of front wheel locking and in the last eight laps I just decided to focus on bringing the car home; I took it very easy and gentle. Our strategy was a good one and it was great to be racing and really threatening the Caterhams again. It was very motivating and my lap times were very consistent, so I'm really happy with the progress. Well done also to the pit crew, who did a solid job again. I hope there are tracks coming where the KERS effect may be slightly less and we can continue to keep fighting hard like this."
Charles Pic: "The first part of the race was tough for me because of having to start at the back of the grid due to our engine change. I was stuck behind the HRT cars for a while and I lost quite a lot of time. Because of this, it wasn't long before I was already too far out of touch with the Caterhams ahead and it was difficult to try to come back from this. Looking at the weekend overall though, I was very pleased with my qualifying and also our pace in the race was good, particularly in the last part of the stint. I look forward to being able to discover another new track for me in India."
John Booth, Team Principal: "We enjoyed a great 'race' today - in the true sense of the word. As we said yesterday, we had taken a conscious decision to slightly compromise our qualifying lap time in order to give ourselves the best chance today of fighting with the Caterham cars. Timo drove to his own exceptionally high performance standards and we were particularly - and pleasantly - surprised at his pace in the first stint; we had expected to be slightly further away than we were. We knew that our best opportunity was to save our second set of Supersoft tyres for the final stint, however the second stint was also pleasantly surprising. In effect, we effectively held pace with both the cars in front and a perfectly timed pitstop onto the Supersoft tyre forced Caterham into a pitstop which ultimately resulted left us able to race Kovalainen hard for several laps whilst attempting to pass in the DRS zone. It was always going to be a tough race for Charles starting from the back with the engine penalty and once again we are sorry for him that this had to happen, particularly given his strong performance in qualifying yesterday. Ultimately, being stuck behind the HRTs and unable to get the tyre temperature, compounded by the low track temperature we saw in the race, cost him dearly. That said, amongst the traffic of the final stint, he did manage to demonstrate very good pace. It has been said many times already, but today really was a demonstration of how much our lack of KERS has compromised us. Having said that, we are still happy in our overall development strategy, which was to concentrate on improving the aerodynamics this year. Given our performance in the second and third sectors, this has proved to be a very sensible route for us."
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