A hard fought race yielded little reward for Marussia in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona today, where Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton finished in 18th and 19th positions respectively. Both their races were already compromised after the first few laps.
Jules Bianchi, #22: “I feel like I drove a really hard race today but there is not so much to show for it. I am obviously pleased to have had three strong middle stints but the damage was done in the opening few laps when I had to pit for a new nose. I think we recovered well from this and had we not had the extra stop we could have been fighting with Bottas today. Our lap time was much faster than theirs and I managed to get the gap down to eight seconds in the final stint, but pushing so hard stretched the tyres too much and I had to back off to just focus on getting the car home. Another two-car finish is important to us. It was a race that demanded all my concentration and I certainly put all of the tyre management experience I have gained in the first four races to good use today, so it was quite an exhausting day but one which also had some positive highlights. I will focus on these and hope for better things in my home race in Monaco in two weeks’ time.”
Max Chilton, #23: “It was disappointing to have such a problematic start to the race and then we had the pit stop issue, which was a further setback. What is encouraging is my lap time in free air today, which I’m pretty pleased with, and it’s good to be able to demonstrate more of my outright pace than I’ve been able to over the past few races. If we can get on top of some of these problems we can really start to come into our own a bit more. The pace is there so we should be able to get back to closing the gap to the midfield. Next it’s one of my favourite races and I’ll be doing everything I can to prepare for my first time out in a Formula 1 car there. Hopefully we can enjoy a better reward for our efforts.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “We leave the Circuit de Catalunya with mixed feelings about our Spanish Grand Prix weekend. On the one hand we have made clear progress with our development step for this race, not only coming into the weekend on Friday but also in the way we have optimised it session by session. We were hoping for better things in the race but we suffered a few setbacks with Jules and Max which overshadowed what should be the key take-out from today, which is our relative pace versus the cars around us. Both drivers were doing a good job of demonstrating that and having been forced to stop four times versus the planned three, and therefore having to complete the final stint on a scrubbed Hard tyre, Jules’ recovery was particularly impressive. With the benefit of a new tyre he would have been able to keep pushing in the final stint and it could have been a different result today. The pace development has come as the result of some very hard work back in Banbury and we need to maintain the momentum into Monaco now, where we will have some further, albeit more minor, upgrades.”