The Marussia F1 Team made a clear step forward in terms of car set-up and performance in Monaco today, but the pace of both drivers was overshadowed by yellow flags and traffic, which prevented Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton from revealing their full potential;
Jules enjoyed a positive FP3 this morning, but on Max’s side of the garage the team battled to find grip. Set-up changes in the break gave him a car that he felt he could push with and he went on to enjoy a much improved qualifying session. Jules made good progress through the day but the estimated 0.5 s time loss during the yellow flag period left him shy of the target of matching the pace of the Saubers and chasing a place in Q2.
Jules Bianchi #17: “It would have been tight to make it to Q2, but I think it was a possibility. My first run was okay but the second one was compromised by the yellow flags and traffic and I lost around 0.5 s, with no chance of improving. Looking at the positives though, we were 0.6 s off the Saubers, so taking into account the lost time I am encouraged by our pace to them. We have been pretty close all weekend, so now we have to make it work in the race. I think we can have a good fight tomorrow and give a nice reward for the team.”
Max Chilton #4: “Compared to this morning’s FP3 session the car was a big improvement. I’m pretty pleased with how things went in qualifying to be honest. If we take all the intervening factors into consideration, I think we have a good car for tomorrow and we can be quite optimistic for the race. We’ve seen a few incidents today that are a reminder of how tricky this circuit can be, and with the potential for Safety Cars as well, there is every chance of an opportunity arising for us, so it’s important that we are ready to take advantage.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “We chose to run FP3 a little differently due to the loss of running on Thursday with the weather. Initially, we completed a long run with both cars, which allowed the drivers time to settle back into the circuit. Jules was happy with the car and it seemed that he was pretty much picking up from where he left off at the end of FP2. Max was not so happy and the car was not behaving as he was used to. At the end of FP3 we felt quite happy with our pace and the gap to the front of the midfield group was very tight. Into Qualifying we revised Max’s set-up and it significantly improved the car for him. With Jules, unfortunately his second run was not productive due to the yellow flags and traffic, but this is Monaco! Overall, it is very disappointing that we didn’t get the chance to show our true potential in what is always the most important qualifying session of the year. Tomorrow will be a long and tough race for the team and the drivers, however we will, as always, look to take any opportunities and hopefully have some fun racing with the guys in front.”
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