Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton continued to lap up the Marina Bay Street Circuit today as their first F1 night race experience continues. They enjoyed a positive third Free Practice session before heading into what was ultimately a slightly more disappointing Qualifying, in which they ended the day in 21st and 22nd positions respectively.
During their first qualifying run of the evening they delivered strong performances that were separated by only a tenth and which saw Jules splitting the two Caterhams. On their second run, on new SuperSoft tyres, both drivers reported the same balance problem, which resulted in significant understeer and prevented them from improving on their first run lap times.
Jules Bianchi: “It was not a bad qualifying overall, but it’s a shame that we were unable to improve on our first run because we were looking quite strong. For some reason on the second run we had more understeer, which is a surprise and something we need to look into for here and also to prevent this happening in the future. I am not too unhappy because this is a new track for me and I am still getting to grips with it, so I think if it all comes together for us tomorrow we can have a good race.”
Max Chilton: “It was quite surprising to suffer a significant balance shift on the second run. The first run went well and I was only a tenth from my team-mate, so I was fully expecting to make another small step. Overall though we are closer to the Caterhams here and I think that our group of four can have a good fight tomorrow. Generally I’m really looking forward to my first night race and we will do our best to make the most of the opportunities that may come our way.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “Overall, a slightly disappointing qualifying result on the back of what had been three relatively good practice sessions. We have brought some suspension developments this weekend, which have definitely improved our pace, however we were not able to bring all of this together in the final qualifying run. Ultimately the pace in FP3 was very close to our nearest competitors and we were relatively confident going into qualifying that we would be able to compete with them. This was certainly the case on the first run, but both drivers reported a similar balance issue on the second run, which cost us the same improvement that everyone else was able to achieve. Going forwards into tomorrow, we have good long run pace here and we are happy with the balance of the car on high fuel. Hopefully, this will translate into a good race. The race itself looks like it could be fairly interesting with the strategy, given the two types of tyre that we have. It will be interesting to see how the other teams will handle this.”