Frenchman Charles Pic has impressed his Marussia team with a solid 19th place finish in his first race at the Buddh International Circuit in India, a result that was dearly needed for Pic if he's to be in with a shot of remaining in F1 in 2013.

"A fantastic job by Charles today to reverse his fortunes following a frustrating qualifying result," said team principal John Booth. "He had the measure of all the cars affected by the first corner incident and he was able to get ahead of Petrov and hold a gap to him for quite some time."

The 22-year-old managed 19th place well ahead of his team-mate Timo Glock. He finished only one lap down on the leaders and stayed out of trouble for the race, while Glock was a further lap down in 20th after managing to hold up Ferrari's Fernando Alonso at a crucial point of the race.

Pic certainly has the confidence with him going into the next race, with the 22-year-old positively bouncing when speaking to the media after the 2012 Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida.

"It was a great race for me, especially after a disappointing qualifying yesterday," the Frenchman commented. "We didn't get a chance to show our pace then, and we did today and I am very happy for that.

"I got a very good start and made up five places at Turn 1 and for the first lap, getting ahead of Petrov," he continued. "They have the advantage of KERS though, so it wasn't long before he was able to pass, but for the rest of the race we stayed with the Caterham's and as the race played out I was catching up to Kovalainen.

"The pace is there [and] a great stop by the crew today," he added. "Very good work by the engineers and mechanics all weekend, especially to help us reverse our fortunes after qualifying."

Pic was hoping that this would all set him in good stead for next weekend's outing, at a venue he already knows well.

"I am very happy and looking forward to continuing this in Abu Dhabi, where I will be back at a circuit I know well and where it all went so well for me in the Young Driver Test last year, he said. "I am hoping for another positive outcome there."

Pic knows that if his performances are not impressive in the final three races of the season, he could get replaced by the team's reserve driver Max Chilton for 2013. It wouldn't be a big surprise considering the tendency of the team in the past to drop the second driver in the team at the end of a season.

Chilton will have the chance to show what he can do in the car when he takes over the Frenchman's car over for the first practice session in Abu Dhabi which will allow Marussia to analyse the talents of the Englishman, who won two GP2 races in the season just past.

The main concern for Pic could be that Chilton already knows the track well from racing in the GP2 Series as well as participating in the F1 Young Driver Tests, experience that could allow him to outperform the team's expectations.

But Pic also knows the track well from his own past experience in GP2 and Young Driver Tests. Unlike Chilton, Pic can even lay claim to having a pole position lap at the Yas Marina Circuit on his CV, which should allow him to give his team-mate a strong run for his money.

It could certainly prove to be a make-or-break weekend for both Pic and Chilton at Abu Dhabi, and Pic will be relieved to be heading into the crucial test on the back of a strong performance in India.

by Cameron Paterson