A pre-race downpour in Budapest produced an incredible show in today's 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, in which the Marussia F1 Team delivered another strong two-car finish and retained 9th position in the Constructors' Championship. Jules Bianchi ended the race in 15th place, with team-mate Max Chilton in P16.
The heavens opened around 15 minutes before the pit lane opened and although the showers abated by the time the cars left the garage, the track was wet enough to evaluate the Extreme Wet tyre on the reconnaissance laps to the grid. As it was, the entire field started the race on the Intermediate tyre but the track was ready for slicks within six laps.
It was at the crossover from wets to slicks that the race dialled up several notches, with several cars coming unstuck in the slippery conditions, some big crashes and three safety car periods. On lap 17, whilst minding his own race, Jules was hit in the side by Pastor Maldonado. The impact punctured the tyre and at the ensuing pit stop, the first of three, it was clear that there was a lot of damage to the bodywork and floor. This did not prevent Jules from completing the race, but his car was a handful for the remaining 53 laps, quite some distance to drive with a badly imbalanced car that was hurting the tyres significantly. The engineers tried to improve the car with the steering wheel settings and Jules did a very good job to manage the issues whilst ensuring he did not drop to the back of the field.
Max experienced a straightforward race, utilising the Soft tyres well, having started on the Intermediate tyre. The retirement of Kobayashi and Jules' incident with Maldonado handed some advantage back to Max for several laps and later in the race he was racing right behind Jules.
Jules Bianchi: "That was a tough race for me because I had to drive for more than 50 laps with a damaged car with terrible balance problems. Maldonado just came from nowhere and hit me in the side. I was really fearful it would put me out of the race and I knew it was a race that would present a lot of opportunities, for me and also our competitors. Although the Caterhams were not in the race for very long, the balance problems meant that I could not take the fight to the cars ahead, particularly the Saubers, who at one point were in a good position that might have threatened our championship placing. In the end, the dry conditions ensured the race ran more in competitive order and we ended the race holding onto 9th, which I am very happy about, obviously. It was a pretty exhausting race, having to fight the car for so long and not be able to lap quicker, but at least we got both cars to the finish and we end the first half of the season on a high note. My thanks to the whole Team and I wish everyone a very relaxing summer break, after which we will return stronger and hopefully finish the job we started in terms of beating Sauber on the track."
Max Chilton: "I got a good start to the race and I was happy with the way the car was performing and that we managed to avoid any of the difficulties the retirees encountered. With Kobayashi and Ericsson out of the picture, and Jules having to make an unscheduled stop, it was good to be able to move up the field and then at the end have a good fight with Jules to the flag. I'm pleased for the Team that we have another two car finish and we've managed to hold on to our 9th place in the Constructors' Championship, which is really important. Now we all deserve a good break so we can come back in Spa and have a good second half of the season."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A difficult start to the race with the downpour that happened as we were preparing to go to the grid, however it was fairly clear that the Intermediate tyres would be required for the race start. It took a little longer than expected for the track to dry, but with the arrival of the safety car it was clear that we would have to stop for dry tyres at this point. Jules was running well at the back of the midfield pack when Maldonado hit him. Unfortunately, this effectively ended his ability to race in this position in the field, having sustained a significant amount of car damage, which cost him a lot of downforce. Max had a less eventful race doing well to avoid the incidents, of which there were plenty, and he made the best of his car in tricky conditions to follow Jules home. It's good to end the first part of the season with a two-car finish. The Team have done a great job so far and hopefully the break will provide the respite we deserve to come back and fight even harder in the remaining eight races."
Claudio Albertini, Head of Customer Teams Power Unit Operations, Scuderia Ferrari: "Once again, an intense weekend ended with a result that reflects the predictions. The best moment of this Grand Prix weekend was definitely yesterday, when Jules brought a Ferrari powered Marussia in Q2 for the third time this season. Today both drivers did their best, although it is clear that the race of the French driver was affected by the collision with Maldonado, which has made his car very difficult to drive. From the point of view of reliability, not everything went smoothly. A gearbox problem prevented Max from taking advantage of all the available time in FP1 on Friday, which confirms how crucial it is never lower our guard on this front. Now for all, in Maranello and in Banbury, there is a chance to take a breather at the end of this very demanding first part of the season: an opportunity to recharge our batteries for the second half of the championship, which promises to be just as intense. The aim will be to put the team in the best conditions to consolidate the proud ninth place it occupies so far in the Constructors' Championship."
Check out our Sunday gallery, here.