Timo Glock struggled through the opening day of he European Grad Prix in Valencia, but wasn't just having to cope with the lacklustre Marussia MR01 having picked up a stomach bug prior to practice.
The German had been fighting the since Thursday, but insisted that he felt well enough to take part in the morning's FP1 to help with the gathering of vital data for the rest of the weekend. The team, however, was keen to ensure that he didn't rush his recovery, and reworked the programme to give team-mate Charles Pic the lion's share of the race preparation work, while Glock concentrated on honing car set-up, eventually ending the day in 21st position after completing rather more running than he might have envisaged.
“I have to be quite pleased with the work I have done today, as it has not been an easy day of free practice for me," the veteran admitted, "I seem to have picked up a stomach bug over the last couple of days and, for a time, I have to say I was feeling quite unwell.
"Back in the car today, I have felt a little better and I am hopeful that I am on the mend. With the programme I worked through, the car was performing well for me, so a good start in that respect. My plan now is to work through the data so I have plenty to sleep on while I concentrate on recovering for a new day tomorrow.”
The reshuffle, in turn, provided rookie Pic with a challenging day's running, but the Frenchman was pleased with the progress made with the balance of his car, despite a slightly more comprehensive job list. With both Marussias improving their time in the afternoon, Pic ended the day in P22.
“A very interesting day for me as my programme was slightly different to normal," the GP2 graduate confirmed, "The engineers changed things around quite a bit to help Timo's recovery, which meant that I was doing more of the race preparation work. This was good for me and I am happy with what was a slightly more diverse plan. In the end, we seem to have a good set-up direction and with the amount of running we did, we have plenty of data to explore this evening.
"I think once we have looked at this and we are back in sync tomorrow, we will find that we have recovered some of what we lost in Canada and we can start to work on the gap to the cars in front of us again. For me, a good start, and I am happy that there is more we can achieve this weekend.”
After admitting that the team had fallen back in performance over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, principal John Booth was confident that both cars would be back in the fight with HRT, and the chase for tenth overall, in Valencia.
“The early indications, despite a less than straightforward day, are that our pace here is closer to what we expect following our low downforce blip in Canada,” he commented, "This morning, prior to FP1, we obviously had some work to do to reshape our programme in order to ease the pressure on Timo. Across the board, there is more to come, we feel, and a night spent poring over the data, coupled with a good night's rest for Timo, should see us back in our normal stride tomorrow. The track conditions should also have improved by then, as the circuit was very dirty this morning and took a while to clean up.
"Although he was feeling better than he had been, we felt it best not to overload him and cause any setbacks in his recovery. He did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances and seemed to feel okay when he was driving the car. All credit to him for completing 21 laps this afternoon and being able to demonstrate good pace at this stage. Similar credit to Charles, however, as he picked up the reins, broke the back of the race preparation programme and has made good progress on set-up."