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Marussia's Bianchi on top at the bottom

First blood in the battle of the back row went to Marussia, with Jules Bianchi faster than his team mate and both the Caterham drivers in Friday's Free Practice sessions.
Jules Bianchi might have the distinction of being the last driver signing confirmed for the 2013 F1 season, but he's started his new job in fine form by being the fastest of the Marussia and Caterham drivers battling it out at the back of the grid.

Bianchi was faster than his Marussia team mate Max Chilton and both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham cars in both Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 on Friday at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. He was the only one of the four to break the 90s barrier, finally topping out with a lap of 1:29.696s in the later session.

“It has been a very good first practice for the team and for me, so I am quite happy given that it is only my third day in the car," said the Frenchman. "I have been looking forward to this day for quite a long time and it really worked out well I think.

"It is very encouraging to know that while we have a good basis today, there is a lot more to come," he added. "The car is performing well but we have quite a lot of understeer and we need to improve this."

It's Bianchi's first taste of the Australian GP circuit, and he enjoyed what he'd experienced so far. "I like it a lot. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but once you are up to speed it's an amazing lap and now I can't wait to do some more tomorrow."

Learning the Melbourne circuit was certainly top of Max Chilton's to-do list on Friday, as the Briton embarked on his first-ever Grand Prix weekend in F1.

“Our objective today was to learn the Albert Park track as quickly as possible and then start to gather plenty of information with the car and the tyres," he said. "Albert Park is an amazing circuit and I've loved every second of driving it so far. Tomorrow will be another big milestone in my debut weekend with my first Formula 1 qualifying and I'm very excited about that."

Somewhat less happy with the way things ended up was Giedo van der Garde, who ended the session with his Caterham beached in the gravel.

"On the first run I had some understeer that we dialled out for the second run," he explained. "But unfortunately I have a bit of rear locking as I went into T3 and went into the gravel. The anti-stall kicked in before I could get the car back out and that was the end of my afternoon."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
14.03.2013- Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team CT03
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team CT03
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR02
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Giedo Van der Garde (NED), Caterham F1 Team CT03
14.03.2013- Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02
15.03.2013- Free Practice 1, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02
Guy Moll at the 1934 Grand Prix Automobile de Montreux   [pic credit:Agence de presse Meurisse/Bibliothèque nationale de France]
12.10.2014- Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR03 and all the Marussia F1 Team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham F1 Team CT05 and Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Jean Todt (FRA) Fia President and  Graeme Lowdon (GBR) Marussia F1 Team Chief Executive Officer
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
12.10.2014- Race, Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
12.10.2014- Race, Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham F1 Team CT05
12.10.2014- Race, Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Race, Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham F1 Team CT05

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