The Marussia F1 Team experienced a tough challenge in today’s 61 lap 2013 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix, a night race first for Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.
The race started well, with Jules getting past both Caterhams early in lap 1 before eventually ceding position to van der Garde and settling into P20, having started from P21. Pic was sandwiched between the two Marussias for the first stint then disaster struck when Jules was unable to change gear. Having made his first stop he was forced to pit again a lap later to change steering wheels, which thankfully solved the problem.
On lap 25 Jules made his way into the pits again for his second scheduled stop at precisely the time that the Safety Car was deployed after Ricciardo hit the wall at Turn 18. Straight after the call the team elected to pit Max immediately. They made a further stop each to end the race with Max in 17th position and Jules 18th.
Max Chilton: “What started off as quite a tough race with the balance then thankfully improved and in the end it was not a bad race for us. Once again we got another two car finish out of it which is good for the team and we maintain our 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship. The degradation was quite high and it was a tough challenge to manage the tyres and still try to push for opportunities with Caterham, which came along when Pic stopped late in the race enabling us to gain an extra place. Overall I’m pleased with my first night race and have enjoyed the whole Singapore experience.”
Jules Bianchi: “I was hoping for better today but the first half of the race didn’t go at all well for me. Just as I was stopping for the first time I lost the gears and I was worried it was mechanical but we stopped again to change the steering wheel and the problem thankfully went away. The second stint was tough because I was so far back by then and it was looking like it would be a very long and lonely race, also hitting the blue flag phase much earlier than usual. When the Safety Car came out it helped enormously as we were able to catch up and unlap ourselves. After struggling with traction initially I was then able to get into a good rhythm with strong pace. I was quicker but whilst trying to pass my team-mate my tyres went away completely and we had to stop again much earlier than plan. After that, having seen the degradation we were incurring trying to push, I had no option but to hold back, but at least I was able to gain a place when Pic stopped again at the end. Some difficult points in the race but what matters is the team result.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “Today’s race was a challenging one for the whole team due to a combination of the intense humidity, an early gear shift problem for Jules and a heavy emphasis on tyre management through the whole race. The Safety Car period benefited us by helping us to overcome the penalty of an extra unscheduled pit stop for Jules and we were able to get back in touch with the rest of the field, which in turn put us back into a good fight with Caterham. They were ahead but the gap was minimal during the second half of the race and at a track like this any opportunity can arise at a moment’s notice and this is in fact what happened when Pic had to stop six laps from the end. We have been extremely close to our nearest competitors all weekend, which is a definite improvement on recent races. Another two car finish for the team and we leave Singapore with our position in the Constructors’ Championship still intact, so we will focus on the positives from the weekend.” (Marussia F1)
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