The improvements from the Marussia F1 team continue to be clearly visible as Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi were less than two tenths of a second off making the second part of qualifying in Montreal. Chilton will start eighteenth, with Bianchi nineteenth.
Chilton has been impressive all weekend in Canada, and the Briton qualified eighteenth, ahead of his team-mate and only 0.113s off getting into the second part of qualifying. He wasn’t expecting Marussia to be this competitive in Montreal, a circuit that generally has not suited their car in the past.
“We came here off the back of a great result for the Team in Monaco, but fully expecting to struggle rather more at a circuit that has never really suited our car in previous seasons,” said Chilton. “I think we are all a little surprised, but pleasantly so, because it really underlines how much progress we’ve made with the car in all conditions and at a variety of circuits.
“We’ve had a very positive couple of days and we were hoping to be able to wrap all that into a great qualifying, which we started to do on the first run. That was a good lap, but there was definitely room for improvement, but the red flag put paid to that. We have to look on the bright side though because it’s a further sign that our progress is genuine and not the product of one race.
“My plan for tomorrow is to aim to keep everyone behind me and hopefully have a nice fight with the cars ahead.”
Bianchi has been playing catch up all weekend, after hitting the wall during the first practice session then sitting out the majority of the second session with power unit issues. He managed to qualify 0.011s behind his team-mate in nineteenth, but ahead of both Caterhams.
“It’s a disappointing way to end our qualifying because after the minimal running I had yesterday, we were back on it for FP3 this morning,” said Bianchi. “The car seems very good here this weekend, which is nice to see because it shows that our improvements have helped us master a circuit that does not typically suit us.
“My first run was okay considering the small amount of time I have spent in the car with low fuel and options this weekend. There was no chance to improve on the second because we had a problem starting the car and, in any case, the red flag came out and no one was able to improve. We start with the Caterhams behind me, so I just have to focus on the race in front of me and I’m sure we can fight back and have a good race.”
Team Principal John Booth felt more lap time was possible for both Chilton and Bianchi but was disappointed with the red flag ruining their runs. He saw the team miss out on a Q2 appearance by just over 1 tenth of a second. He admits that Bianchi’s car still has some niggling gremlins to work through, but Booth is hopeful of a good race for his team.
“Qualifying went well for Max on his first run,” said Booth. “Despite missing the second run due to the red flag, when there was plenty of potential for track improvement, he can be very pleased with his overall performance here, missing out on Q2 only by a very narrow margin.
“Jules was not quite happy with his first run but clearly this is a product of his lack of track time on low fuel with the option tyre this weekend. Unfortunately, he missed his second run due to an issue with starting the engine, however as was the case with Max the red flag put paid to any chance of improving anyway.
“It’s been a tough weekend in the garage, with a huge amount of work to do to keep the cars on track. It seems we also have a few gremlins to iron out on Jules’ car before the race tomorrow, so we will spend the time today working on this. We look forward to what should be a promising race.”