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Jules Bianchi's race was compromised at the first corner after a puncture (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)
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Max Chilton: “It’s Great to end the Weekend on a Positive”

The Marussia F1 Team endured a disappointing race in Belgium, with Jules Bianchi’s race compromised at the first corner after a collision with a Lotus, while Max Chilton finished down in sixteenth after a race long battle with a Caterham.

Chilton was involved in a race-long battle with the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson, initially losing the spot early on, before taking the place back with two laps to go. He feels the car has improved since the last race in Hungary, and is looking forward to helping the team fight to retain the ninth place in the Constructors’ championship.

“It’s great to end the weekend on a positive with 16th place, having gained three positions and finished ahead of the Caterham,” said Chilton. “We’ve improved the car since Hungary and we are in a good place versus the teams around us, so this has enabled us to fight this weekend.

“That what is required now, to try to hold onto 9th place in the Constructors’ Championship. I’m pleased with how the race panned out, especially taking Ericsson right at the end.”

Team-mate Bianchi’s race was compromised just after the first corner when the Lotus of Romain Grosjean clipped his rear wheel and caused the Marussia to suffer a puncture. He was disappointed with the result after the high of qualifying, and is looking forward to Monza in two weeks time as he feels the team had made progress with their car.

“There is not much to say beyond this was a race that was not meant to be,” said Bianchi. “For sure it is disappointing after a really positive day yesterday, but with the puncture and the retirement, both were problems that were out of my hands.

“I’m pretty pleased with my race, considering. It was a bit lonely, but I was happy with the way I managed to close the gap and manage the tyres well at the same time, which are all signs of how the race might otherwise have played out for me. It’s a shame that I was unable to take the flag due to a gearbox problem, but I can’t be too disappointed and we’ll look to Monza now as I think the package is stronger.”

Team Principal John Booth reflected on a disappointing yet positive day at Spa, with the car showing improved performance. He praised Chilton for not giving up in his battle with Ericsson, and Bianchi for not giving up and showing pace on par with the Sauber team.

“Not the result we were hoping for today, however, in the overall scheme of things, it is still a positive one,” said Booth. “Max’s race got off to a reasonable start, although we were unable to make the first undercut to Ericsson due to stopping on the same lap. We knew our best chance was to revise the strategy and complete a longer middle stint on the prime, to allow Max to attack towards the end of the race on fresher soft tyres, which he was able to do on the second to last lap of the race.

“With Jules, his day was pretty much over at the exit of Turn 1. With the puncture, he lost in excess of 50 seconds, however he did not give up the fight and did a fantastic long first stint on the option tyre, cutting this gap significantly and for much of that stint running the same pace as the Saubers. In the end, the effectively one-stop strategy designed to protect from any Safety Cars didn’t quite pay off and that, combined with the blue flags you see when you drop that far back, meant that he was unable to make any progress forwards.

“Overall, some positives to take away, in terms of the pace and improved balance that we’ve seen on the car this weekend. Everyone is looking forward to moving on to Monza and dealing with the challenges of another fantastic and historic circuit.”