HUNGARORING, 26th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - One of the stories of a dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying session today was that Jules Bianchi managed to get his Marussia into the second session, by setting the 16th fastest time in Q1.
To add to the drama Bianchi – a member of the Ferrari young drivers’ programme – actually in so doing dumped a Ferrari out in Q1; Kimi Raikkonen as a result will start a place behind Bianchi in P17 tomorrow.
When asked by F1Plus.com if he felt it was a perfect lap Bianchi concurred: “Yeah, I think it was one of the best laps I’ve done in quali, so I’m really happy.”
The lap also seemed to come out of nowhere, as in Friday practice the Marussia hadn’t shown impressive pace.
Bianchi told F1Plus however that clear improvements had been made to his car overnight.
“This morning (FP3) already was much better than yesterday, yesterday I was struggling a lot, I could not do what I wanted with the car, I wasn’t confident at all on track but this morning when I went out for the first run I felt straight away that it was a different car,
"and still if we had some improvement to do but it was much better and much easier to push so I was pretty confident before qualifying.”
Bianchi however admitted that his P16 and resultant getting out of Q1 was a surprise.
“I was a bit surprised yes, especially because I knew that there were some cars still on track. He said (his engineer) at the moment you are P16 but I expected some cars to improve but actually no as we were one of the last cars on track.”
The Frenchman said also that even though Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado were out of qualifying at this stage, thus freeing up two potential extra spaces in Q2, it didn’t make a difference to his approach.
“I don’t think it gave me something more, for sure you are aware that you have two cars less to beat that you cannot really beat normally. I just did the job as normal trying to be as quick as possible, in the end I didn’t know what was the lap time to beat for Q2. I just did best lap time I could do and that’s it.”
He also didn’t know it was a Ferrari that he was set to beat into Q2.
“I knew that I had margin on my first run as I did some mistakes in the lap, so I tried to do the perfect lap.”
Bianchi’s latest fine performance – perhaps combined with Raikkonen’s latest struggle – also raised in more speculation about Bianchi getting into a Ferrari race seat sooner or later.
The man himself was coy on the subject when it was raised by F1Plus.
“I’m still with Marussia at the moment, I still have a lot of racing to do after this season. I feel ready for sure but it’s not my call. What I have to do is just do a good job with my team at the moment and we’ll see what they want me to do.”