Marussia debutants buoyed by performance
18 March 2013 – Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were in high spirts after Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, with both men taking the chequered flag on their respective Formula 1 debuts and showing strong pace in relation to key rivals Caterham.
Bianchi, who narrowly missed out on a drive with Force India this season, turned the most heads on his way to 15th, crossing the line comfortably ahead of nearest Caterham rival Charles Pic and one lap down on race-winner Kimi Räikkönen.
"I am very happy with my race and really can’t imagine a better start to my first season of F1," said Bianchi. "Qualifying was quite a challenge but for the race I felt very calm as I looked forward to this moment.
"Generally everything went very smoothly in the race and we worked our way through the tyre management issues as well as we could in order to maximise the possibilities. It would seem that the team have made a big step over the winter and it is very nice to see them reacting positively to this."
From Chilton's point of view, the race was not as smooth as he had hoped due to an early collision with Giedo van der Garde, but he was positive about his overall performance after overcoming the Caterham driver to the finish in 17th place.
"I am happy with my debut and although it was less than straightforward, it’s good to get it under my belt and to know where we stand relative to the competition," Chilton explained. "The coming-together with van der Garde early in the race meant I had to stop for a wing change. This put me back out on-track such that I hit the blue flag period and it was a bit of a battle to recover lost ground. I had a really good fight with van der Garde and closed the gap enough to be able to pass him.
"From there I was able to demonstrate more of my true pace and I was posting laps around three seconds faster than him. Although the race had its frustrations, I feel like I’ve learned a lot that I perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise and that will be useful."