Virgin got both their cars to the finish for the first time in 2010.
The team ran one revised VR-01 for Timo Glock while Lucas di Grassi remains in the old car until Istanbul.
|Timo Glock||Lucas di Grassi|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q1)||1’25.475 (-0.081)||1’25.556|
|Average race lap||1’32.558 (-1.323)||1’33.881|
Glock demonstrated the improved pace of the VR-01, lapping much quicker than his team mate in the opening stages of the race.
Encouragingly, the team were on the pace of Jarno Trulli in the revised Lotus, and Glock ended the race just 1.5 seconds behind his former team mate.
But both Virgin cars lost a huge amount of time letting the leaders past once they had caught the VR-01 to lap him, as the lap time chart above shows. Glock said:
I had a good race-long battle with Jarno but the amount of traffic we experienced made it very difficult. Out of 66 laps, only 15 of them were in free air and the rest were full of blue flags.
We’ve discussed before how severely the blue flags rules punish slower cars to help the leaders get past with minimum disruption. Lapped cars are warned about approaching cars long before they reach them, and because they must allow the leaders past within a limited amount of time, the lapped cars are badly delayed.
This is problematic for two reasons: it makes life rather too easy for the leaders – in other series they wouldn’t get as much help passing backmarkers.
It also becomes self-perpetuating. Forcing lapped cars to slow down as much as this means they get caught to be lapped by other cars even sooner, meaning they have to slow down again, and so on.
Yes, it’s up to Virgin and the other new teams to build faster cars so they don’t get lapped in the first place. But this shows there’s good reason to think about relaxing or scrapping the blue flag rules.
Lucas di Grassi
There’s little scope for comparison between di Grassi and Glock while the Brazilian driver continues to race the old car.
He was the target of criticism from Lewis Hamilton, who felt di Grassi should have done more to get out of the way while Hamilton was trying to pass Sebastian Vettel.