After a fantastic result in qualifying yesterday, the Marussia F1 Team experienced a rather more sobering race in today's 2014 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix, albeit they ended the day with Jules Bianchi in P14 and Max Chilton in P16.
The 52 lap race got off to a troubled start when Kimi Raikonnen had a huge crash on the exit of Turn 5 during the opening lap. A loose tyre released under impact bounced onto Max's car, resulting in significant front end damage but thankfully with Max himself unscathed. Max pitted for a new front wing and for further damage inspection as the race was red flagged, a move which ultimately cost him a drive through penalty. From his position in the pits, Max was forced to restart the race from the pit lane after the pack had passed through, the Team having effected repairs to his car. His team-mate Jules Bianchi, who was too far ahead on the opening lap to be caught up in the melee, restarted the race from 10th position.
At the end of lap 2 following the restart, Max pitted for his drive through penalty and from then on had a lonely race at the back of the field. Nonetheless, he pushed hard and delivered impressive lap times, to eat away at the gap between him and the Caterhams ahead, which was subsequently reduced to Kobayashi following a problem for Ericsson.
Jules drove a determined race, holding off the faster cars behind him for a good portion of the first stint before they were able to pass and demonstrating the improving pace of his MR03. He ended the race in P14 after Maldonado ahead was forced to retire and Max made it a two-car finish on home asphalt in P16.
Jules Bianchi: "From 10th place at the restart I had a very enjoyable opening stint after the restart. 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. 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."
Max Chilton: "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. 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. 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. 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."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A very eventful first lap today and luckily the only damage as far as our team was concerned was damage to Max's car rather than himself, so he was extremely lucky in this respect. 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 through to Max to go straight to the grid. 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 in order to put himself in a position of being able to take advantage of any safety car, should it enable him to unlap himself. His pace was good and overall, despite the disappointment of his finishing position is, he has been pleased with the performance of the car in the race. Jules had a very good opening stint, battling hard with the cars behind. Some were clearly quicker than us but he showed good racecraft in keeping them behind. At the point at which they broke through, as Caterham were so far behind it was more about minimising the gap to the Sauber and Lotus cars in front. Unfortunately we weren't quite quick enough so we turn our attentions now to the test this week. One day is devoted to Pirelli testing but we hope the day we will devote to set-up work will bring us some more performance ahead of Germany."
Claudio Albertini, Head of Customer Teams Power Unit Operations, Scuderia Ferrari: "It's been a very busy weekend for the whole team, marked by the best performance in qualifying in our short history thanks to Jules' 12th and Max's 13th places. Also the result of the race can be considered in a positive way; 14th and 16th places are in line with the potential of our package currently in a race characterised by several crashes and withdrawals. From the point of view of reliability, not everything went as it should this weekend, especially on Friday and Saturday. We are very sorry for the gearbox problem that occurred during FP3 on Max's car, which prevented him maximising the best grid position of his career that he had deservedly achieved in front of the British fans. Today, the situation was much better but it is clear that we must work hard to raise our standards on this front in order to place the team in a position to be able to exploit its full planned programme for the weekend. The next two testing days, which will take place here on Tuesday and Wednesday, will be therefore very important especially reliability-wise."
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