The Marussia F1 Team took to the Marina Bay Street Circuit this evening for the first of the free practice sessions for Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1™ Singtel Singapore Grand Prix.
The day got off to a bright start as Jules and Max consistently lapped ahead of the two Caterham cars during Free Practice 1. They were clearly enthused by their first taste of Formula 1’s only night race and unaffected by the hot and sticky conditions, with the air temperature at 31?C, the track peaking at 33?C and humidity running at nearly 75%. They were 19th and 20th at the close of the ‘morning’ session.
This evening, as they conducted the main race preparation programme in slightly cooler conditions, the two Marussia drivers and their nearest competitors all lapped within a 1:49, separated by only a tenth, although Max and Jules had to settle for places behind the Caterhams rather than the placings ahead which they had occupied earlier in the day.
Max recorded the fastest time for the Team overall, a 1:49.619, to end FP2 in 21st position. Jules was 22nd with a 1:49.731.
Max Chilton: “I’m pretty pleased with how today has gone for me, though not as pleased as I would have been had we maintained position from this morning! Having said that, we’re really close on lap time and we’ve done a lot of work with the car to be able to arrive at a good direction for tomorrow. We tried quite a few things and I think once we take all that into account to fine-tune the car, we’ll be in reasonable shape for qualifying. Not a bad start really.”
Jules Bianchi: “Today I got my very first taste of this track and the whole night race experience and I have to say it is pretty sensational. We had quite a big programme to get through and though we tried a lot of things to achieve the data, we lost the position advantage we had to Caterham in the first session, which is a bit of a shame. Nevertheless our times are very close considering I didn’t manage to resolve the understeer issues this evening, so I’m feeling quite confident for tomorrow and that we can be in a good fight this weekend.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “The whole Team enjoys the unique night race atmosphere here in Singapore and it is particularly special to capture the excitement of a driver discovering it for the first time. We were pleased to make such a promising start in Free Practice 1 and naturally hopeful we could maintain those positions into the second session. Although we ultimately lost out in terms of placings relative to the Caterhams, our times are really close, with all four cars within 0.3s of each other. We have quite a lot of work to do this evening after gathering quite a haul of information between the two sessions but we’re confident that this will help us to make good progress for tomorrow. Fingers crossed, Singapore has been quite kind to us in the past and hopefully it will continue to shine its light on us again this weekend.”