Timo Glock struggled with his car throughout free practice and qualifying today yet still out-qualified Virgin Racing team-mate JÃ©rÃ´me D'Ambrosio by nearly two-tenths of a second.
The German qualified twentieth but will be promoted one place once a ten-place grid penalty is applied to Pastor Maldonado.
“Today the car was a bit more difficult to drive than yesterday,” explained Glock. “We already struggled this morning with the braking – I just didn't have the confidence to go to the maximum and push. Depending on the corner, the rear end behaved differently, making it quite difficult for me to judge. But my qualifying lap was a good one and I am happy to be in front of HRT and pleased with the lap. It was good and no mistakes. But I'm sure that if we have more confidence in the car we can push more, so we have to look into this and understand why it changed overnight.”
HRT driver Daniel Ricciardo managed to split Glock and D’Ambrosio but despite this, the Belgian driver is still fairly pleased with his performance today:
“I had a reasonable qualifying today,” said D’Ambrosio. “I didn't get the perfect lap but equally it wasn't such a bad one. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow as my set-up was oriented more towards the race rather than optimised for qualifying, so I like to think there is more to come.
“This is a special race track with the timing of the qualifying and race, as the reference points are gradually changing as the light is falling. I hope we can have a good two-car finish for the team.”
Team principal John Booth was also pretty pleased with the performance in qualifying. “A good result for the team in qualifying today,” he said. “JÃ©rÃ´me progressed well over the course of this morning and it was pleasing to see him opting for the bold strategy of a single hot lap right at the end of the session.
“Timo was less happy with the car on his first run in qualifying and this forced him to be slightly more conservative with a final three-lap run. Looking at his time, and correcting it to a more optimal single timed lap, I think we can be pleased with where we are relative to our competitors.
“We spent a lot of time before coming here analysing our performance in recent races in order to make the most of the last two rounds of the season. As a consequence, we took the decision yesterday to focus our set-up towards the race rather than qualifying, so we're optimistic that we can enjoy a strong two-car finish tomorrow. As always here in Abu Dhabi, the track and its spectacular backdrop will add an extra special dimension for ourselves and the fans.”