Features - The New Kids on the Block
JULY 29, 2010
German GP: Glock the survivor
Timo Glock emerged as the best placed of the New Kids on the Block at the end of the German Grand Prix, a race that marked a complete contrast to the previous Grand Prix. Whereas in Silverstone Glock had battled it out with both Lotus drivers all the way to the last lap, in Hockenheim the German saw all his rivals fall by the wayside to inherit the lead of the group with just ten laps to go.</p> <p>Making the most of his grid position, after being comfortably the quickest of the group in qualifying, Jarno Trulli was up to 15th place at the end of the opening lap, with team mate Heikki Kovalainen behind, while Lucas di Grassi had made a lot of ground from last place on the grid, to be ahead of Senna, Yamamoto and Glock, as they all drove around the damaged Force India and Toro Rosso after their internal first lap crashes.</p> <p>Trulli's reign at the front of the group was short lived, as the gearbox stopped working at the start of the second lap and he headed for the pits. Two laps were lost while the mechanics tried to fix the problem, but one slow lap later the veteran Italian was out for good, bringing an early end to a race that had promised a lot for him. He was obviously frustrated, "as this had been the best weekend I've had so far this year, but Lady Luck doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with me. I had a great qualifying session, a great start and first lap, but then the gearbox started to malfunction and I had to pit. We tried to reset it in the pits, but that didn't work, so I had to retire very early."</p> <div class="wsw-Photo" style="width: 300px" ><a href="http://www.grandprix.com/jpeg/phc/pger10/sun/kovalainen2-lg.jpg"><img height="200" width="300" src="http://www.grandprix.com/jpeg/phc/pger10/sun/kovalainen2-rg.jpg" alt="Heikki Kovalainen, German GP 2010" /></a><p class="photocaption">Heikki Kovalainen, German GP 2010 </p><p class="photocredit"> © The Cahier Archive</p></div> <p>Team mate Heikki Kovalainen took up the mantle and led the group, making the most out of the fact he was running with the super-soft tyres. He was followed by Lucas di Grassi, with the gap reaching 6.5s on lap 19, just before the race leaders lapped the group. Kovalainen pitted early, on lap 24, to put the harder compound tyres on and dropped behind the Brazilian and Glock, who passed Yamamoto on lap four and only moved up ahead of Senna when the HRT driver pitted for tyres on lap 21.</p> <p>But Kovalainen was clearly the quickest of the group and soon started cutting the gap to the two Virgin drivers. He knew they would have to pit for tyres before the end of the race so there was no need to do more than just catch them and wait for their tyre changes. But di Grassi didn't even make it that far, as we saw him spin wildly going into the first corner at the start of lap 50 and then head slowly to the pits, to retire. Initially it was thought a driveshaft had broken, but later on the team diagnosed a rear suspension failure. Still, di Grassi had enjoyed a great race and recovered well after not being able to set a lap time in qualifying because of gearbox problems: "My start was great and I managed to pass my team mate and the two HRT drivers on the first lap. I was not losing too much time to Kovalainen before he pitted, but with new tyres he was able to lap quicker than me, although I was sure I'd stay ahead of him until my own pit stop. I was comfortably ahead of my team mate and looking to a strong finish when we had the problem that forced me to retire. That's frustrating, of course, but on the positive side the team has clearly made a step forward with the developments we brought here and we're now capable of fighting with the Lotus drivers on pace. What we need is a reliable weekend to make the most out of the car, because the basis speed is there."</p> <div class="wsw-Photo" style="width: 300px" ><a href="http://www.grandprix.com/jpeg/phc/pger10/sun/digrassi1-lg.jpg"><img height="200" width="300" src="http://www.grandprix.com/jpeg/phc/pger10/sun/digrassi1-rg.jpg" alt="Lucas di Grassi, German GP 2010" /></a><p class="photocaption">Lucas di Grassi, German GP 2010 </p><p class="photocredit"> © The Cahier Archive</p></div> <p>Glock then moved, for the first time, to the front of the group but pitted on lap 52 and dropped behind Kovalainen. Four laps later, though, the Finn was out of the race after running into the back of Pedro de la Rosa's car as he was being lapped: "I saw the blue flags and moved over to let Barrichello pass but I didn't know Pedro was right behind him, so when I was turning into the hairpin I was caught by surprise. I didn't have enough time to react and hit him, which was a real shame, as I damaged his race and also my race. I was running comfortably ahead of my direct rivals, in what wasn't the easiest of the weekends for me, so it was a shame to lose this opportunity to finish ahead of the whole group."</p> <p>As Senna had been forced to a second tyre change on lap 32, due to a slow puncture, Glock didn't have to push hard to complete the race ahead of the Brazilian, while Yamamoto had retired on lap 20 with an engine-related problem. So only two out of six cars finished the race with Glock encouraged by the improvements made by the team but still frustrated he'd had so many reliability problems during the weekend: "I'm happy with my race but we have to find a way to start having a smoother build up to the Sunday, as we're plagued by many technical problems. I had a brake problem in qualifying that didn't allow me to challenge Jarno's fastest lap and there were gearbox problems before and after qualifying that forced me to start from the last row of the grid. My start was good and I passed both HRT but it felt like someone touched the back of my car, I went wide and they passed me again. I did manage to get past Yamamoto earlier on but I was stuck behind Senna until he pitted as he had better top speed. On my own the pace was good, until I got the blue flags again and then I lost more than those I was fighting with. But the final result was good, so now let's hope we can build up on this in Hungary, next weekend."</p> <div class="wsw-Photo" style="width: 300px" ><a href="http://www.grandprix.com/jpeg/phc/pger10/sun/senna-glock1-lg.jpg"><img height="200" width="300" src="http://www.grandprix.com/jpeg/phc/pger10/sun/senna-glock1-rg.jpg" alt="Bruno Senna, Timo Glock, German GP 2010" /></a><p class="photocaption">Bruno Senna, Timo Glock, German GP 2010 </p><p class="photocredit"> © The Cahier Archive</p></div> <p>Bruno Senna was the only other finisher of the group, and had been hoping to battle with Glock all the way to the flag, but a slow puncture put paid to his efforts: "The first lap was good and I could keep Timo behind without too much trouble. After I pitted for the harder tyres my pace was good and I was hoping to beat Timo but the slow puncture cost me a lot of time and after that all I could do was finish the race. We made some progress, we're closer to our rivals than before, so it was a shame the puncture cost me, possibly, one position."</p> <p>Team mate Sakon Yamamoto had a more difficult weekend than in Silverstone and retired early when his engine stopped: "We had some problems in qualifying, that cost me lap time and the chance to qualify higher but in the race my pace was improving when the car stopped. Somehow I struggled more than in my debut with the team, so I'm ready to move on to Budapest, as that's a track I really enjoy racing at."