SILVERSTONE, 7th July (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - After exalted grid slots achieved in a wet-dry qualifying session, both Marussias perhaps as expected to sink down the order on race day; Jules Bianchi finishing P14 in the end and Max Chilton in P16.
Bianchi started the race in P12 and managed to rise to P10 for the re-start after a lap. And even though his subsequent falling down the field had a lot of inevitability about it, Bianchi still pushed hard as well as enjoyed himself.
‘From 10th place at the restart I had a very enjoyable opening stint after the restart’ he said.
‘I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold off the faster cars behind me but it was a good test of our pace as to how long I could keep them behind for and this was a fun part of the race for me. After that I just had to push as hard as I could to stay with the pack in case any opportunity arose.’
Bianchi’s race also gave him some optimism about joining the midfield in future races: ‘What we did see today is that all we need is just a few more tenths a lap to allow us to keep pace with the Lotus and Sauber cars, so we have to focus now on finding that extra time.’
For Chilton however – from starting in P17 –his race was more eventful, and not in a good way as far as the Englishman was concerned.
‘After yesterday’s qualifying performance we were hopeful that we could have a good race today and we certainly didn’t anticipate the course of events that we did encounter’ he rued afterwards.
This in large part included that his machine was hit by a loose wheel from the first lap Kimi Raikkonen accident: ‘That was a scary moment when I was hit by the flying tyre. I was very lucky in one respect but massively unlucky given the damage to my car.’
Also Chilton picked up a penalty for entering the pits due to the damage, as he did so after the red flag had flown which is against the rules: ‘I came into the pits because I needed a new front wing and for the team to take a look around the car, but of course by then the race had been red flagged.’
Team Principal John Booth took the rap for that however on behalf of the team: ‘We called Max in soon after the incident due to the need to change his front wing and check his front suspension, which the wheel had hit…Later in the lap we received the red flag notification but due to a radio issue we weren’t able to get the message.
‘Consequently we incurred a hefty penalty, not just that of the drive through but also going down a lap on the safety car restart. From this point Max did well to stay focused and try to catch the cars in front.’
Chilton went on: ‘The team did a good job to repair the car from the pit lane and from then it was a tough race, with me pushing as hard as I could. I was happy to overtake Kobayashi so that I could then work away at closing the gap to him to unlap myself. I’m pleased we got both cars to the finish at our home race. We were hoping for more but with the circumstances we had it’s a good result.’