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Better, Yet

Our qualifying 'positions' were on target, but the lap time told more of the story of a difficult day

Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Saturday 13 April 2013

BIANCHI MR02-02 P19 1:38.780 6 laps
CHILTON MR02-03 P20 1:39.537 3 laps

The placings in today’s Chinese Grand Prix qualifying session were on target, with Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton posting 19th and 20th positions on the timesheets, ahead of both Caterhams. The lap time told more of the story however, as Jules lost time on his quick lap and Max completed just three laps to Jules’ six when a water pressure problem prevented him from heading out for his second run.

Jules Bianchi #22

“I am happy with where we ended up on the grid for tomorrow’s race, but I am a little disappointed with my lap to be honest. I made a small mistake which cost me lap time and there was certainly more to come. I think we have struggled a little more today perhaps, but I have confidence in our race pace and so I am looking forward to tomorrow’s race. It will be key to get a good start and ensure the cars behind us stay behind us, then I am sure we can continue our trend of getting closer to the cars in front and hopefully feel the full benefit of our upgrades. I think it could be an interesting race generally because of the tyres and the track conditions, and I hope we will be able to take advantage of some circumstances which might work in our favour.”

Max Chilton #23

“It would be easy to focus on the negatives from today, but given the challenges we’ve faced on my side of the garage so far this weekend I’m more encouraged by what we ‘have’ achieved when you consider how little running we’ve had. The target was to stay the right side of the Caterhams, which I did, despite only having the one run of three laps. Although it has been frustrating, at least this means that we’ll start ahead of them on the grid tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to make use of our strong race pace to stay there. Fingers crossed we’ll get a clear run at the race, which I’m looking forward to.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“Today has certainly been far from the perfect day for our Team, although on one hand it is interesting that we use different benchmarks to reach that conclusion than might have been the case last year. With both cars we are disappointed with our qualifying. There was certainly more time to come from Jules’ lap, but the balance wasn’t quite there on his second run. With Max, I’m disappointed to say that we experienced another issue, which unfortunately prevented him from starting his second qualifying run. We are busy analysing the data and parts on the car to fully understand the problem and we will do everything possible to make sure his car is in good order for tomorrow’s race. Overall, I suppose we can be happy that we are in the positions we need to be in for the start of the race, however we can’t help feeling that we missed out on quite a bit of potential today. We hope for better things tomorrow.”