Virgin Racing experienced yet more reliability problems in the Canadian Grand Prix , with Timo Glock retiring after a power steering failure and Lucas di Grassi limping home in nineteenth, driving the last six laps in fourth gear thanks to another hydraulics issue.
Timo Glock had a run-in with an Hispania on the opening lap and he, like every other driver, experienced high levels of tyre wear. “[It was] a really crazy race all round,” said the German. “I had an okay start but then in turn eight Bruno Senna crashed into the back of my car, which destroyed the rear of the car and cost me a lot of downforce, as well as pushing me off the track which put me last.
“I tried to catch up but the problems we anticipated with the tyres started early on and our main focus was preserving the tyres. The pit stops were very quick – all five of them! – and the team did a great job.
“But then I had a steering rack leak ten laps before the end and my race was over. Generally, as great as it is to be back racing in Canada, it has been a tough weekend here for us and we hope for better things in Valencia in two weeks' time.”
Lucas di Grassi briefly flirted with a top-ten position at one point during the race, but was forced to nurse the car home in the closing stages. “The beginning of the race for me was very positive,” explained the Brazilian. “I got a good start and then got by Timo and Bruno Senna and we were catching the Lotus of Jarno Trulli.
“The first stint was very strong and we were running in P10 for a while – our first time in a points-scoring position.
“Unfortunately, towards the end of the race we had a loss of hydraulic pressure and I had to stop shifting to conserve the car. A disappointing end but it was good that we were able to keep going and get the car home.”
Team Principal John Booth said that Virgin had enjoyed their time in Canada, and explained that every race gave the team more valuable experienced. “Our debut Canadian Grand Prix has been a challenging one, but we have enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from it,” he said. “Today the team executed an incredible eight pit stops to cope with the tyre issues we were experiencing and each one was slick and fast, so congratulations to our pit stop crew who have now had enough practice for this race and the next!
“With Timo's race over, Lucas did a great job to nurse his car to the chequered flag to ensure we were able to take away some reward from a tough weekend. So it's onwards and upwards now as we head back to Europe for the second half of the season.”
Technical director Nick Wirth explained the problems that affected the team throughout the race but, like Booth, had praise for the mechanics who carried out a number of pit stops in a busy race. “For us, the worse-case tyre degradation that we planned for occurred, and the team did an unprecedented eight pit stops, all very smoothly,” he said.
“We came out of the first lap in reasonable shape but unfortunately Timo had been hit from behind which cost him over 10% of his downforce, mainly at the rear. With rear tyre degradation as the dominant factor, his possibility of being competitive was effectively over and he had to do a number of very short stints and cope with this issue. Lucas had a smoother run and did a great job running the low-downforce setup.
“We had a steering rack leak that stopped Timo and we saw a drop in hydraulic pressure on Lucas's car with about 10 laps to go, so we elected to cruise to the end to ensure that we leave Montreal finishing one car like the other two new teams.
“The rack leak is unfortunate but easy to remedy and we'll set about solving Lucas's issue once it's been identified.
“The whole Canadian GP experience has been very enlightening and gives us a lot of useful information for the other lower downforce races to come.
“Meanwhile, we're all looking forward to deploying some significant performance upgrades during the next two GP's whilst we continue to improve our reliability.