This is quite unexpected! Both Virgin Racing cars saw the chequered flag for the first time in their debut F1 season on Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, with Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi finishing 18th and 19th respectively.
Given the team’s previously appalling reliability record, it seemed highly unlikely that either car would make half distance, even though Glock’s VR-01 had been fitted with the bespoke longer wheelbase and larger fuel tank after it was embarrassingly discovered that the original tank wasn’t large enough for the team to see the finish line in most races.
"To finally achieve our first two-car finish is a great reward for everyone involved with Virgin Racing," said a very relieved Nick Wirth, head of the Wirth Research that designed the all-CFD VR-01. "Firstly, I would like to thank the race team for their incredible work this weekend.
"I must also recognise the considerable efforts of everyone back at Wirth Research and our suppliers, who have been working relentlessly since Shanghai to fix our transmission and hydraulic problems. It was a very encouraging debut for our new VR-01 and we are all looking forward to bringing more performance to the car in the forthcoming races.
"I should also pay due credit to our drivers Timo and Lucas, not only for solid determined drives in today’s race but for their patience and crucial contribution over the past few weeks, in particular," he added.
While it will undoubtedly come as a relief to have improved reliability, neither Virgin car proved particularly cooperative or coordinated when being lapped by the frontrunners, and in particular Lucas di Grassi was positively clumsy when making way for the faster cars. Parking the car on the apex is not the best place to let a quicker car through!
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]