Both Marussia F1 Team drivers finished the Singapore Grand Prix, but for both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton it was a very long and demanding race around the Marina Bay circuit where both drivers suffered with issues along the way that compromised their final results.
Brake wear issues during the race affected Bianchi’s performance, and he was unhappy to finish behind the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson after finding his strategy compromised by the safety car period, caused when debris from Sergio Perez’s front wing was strewn across the race track after a tangle with Adrian Sutil. He admitted he was struggling to get the Soft Pirelli prime tyres to work in Singapore, and the slow safety car period made his race even more difficult because of this.
“Today was not the easiest of days for us, but at least there were some positives to take away,” insisted Bianchi. “We were closer to the Lotus of [Pastor] Maldonado and also to the Sauber of Sutil, so at least we are back to a more typical delta to those teams on this type of circuit.
“It is disappointing that we were unable to get past Ericsson due to brake wear issues. It was quite a demanding race as there were a lot of factors that we had to manage, particularly the brakes. The safety car after Perez’s accident brought the pack back together so any advantage was lost, particularly as we struggled on the prime tyre.”
Team-mate Chilton was unhappy with his race, especially with an early valve problem that gave him a puncture, and then with the timing of the safety car that compromised his strategy, which meant he finished a lapped seventeenth at Marina Bay. He felt he lost time to the Ericsson due to the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg passed the Marussia driver but then staying behind the Caterham.
“A tough and complicated race, which also had its fair share of bad luck,” revealed Chilton. “I had a stall in the pit lane at the start of the reconnaissance lap and had to return to the garage. I got a good start and almost got [Marcus] Ericsson, then lost time to him when, unusually, [Nico] Rosberg got past and stayed between us for quite a chunk of the first stint.
“I made my first pit stop and then had to come in again soon after, when we suffered a puncture due to a valve issue on the front right wheel. This upset our strategy as we switched to the prime tyre earlier than expected. The problem was made worse when the Safety Car came out halfway through the race at a point where I was unable to benefit and that left us compromised for the final stint on the option.”
Team Principal John Booth felt the team had the measure of Caterham for much of the Singapore Grand Prix, but the timing of the safety car compromised both drivers’ strategy that ultimately saw Ericsson finish ahead of both Bianchi and Chilton.
“Today’s race was every inch the tough challenge we anticipated, so first and foremost all credit to the drivers and the team for their tremendous efforts in managing all the aspects of the race,” said Booth. “Overall, not the result we wanted. At most points in the race we were much stronger than Caterham, however our performance on the prime tyre under the safety car was by far our most limiting factor, by having to complete a three-stop race versus their two-stops. Both cars suffered problems in the race, Jules with brake wear issues and Max with a puncture that can be traced to a valve issue.”