F1 » 15 April 2013
Chinese Grand Prix 2013: Bianchi best at the back again
"It was a tough race and to be honest I was happy to see the chequered flag," says French star after finishing in 15th place in China.
Considering that he was a late addition to the Marussia team after original choice Luiz Razia dropped out because of sponsorship problems, Jules Bianchi is continuing to do an impressive job for the team in the 2013 season.
He finished his third race in the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai this weekend, and for the third time in a row he was the best of the 'backmarkers', beating both his team mate Max Chilton and both of the Caterham cars, just as he had in Australia and Malaysia.
"I am very happy to finish in 15th place today," said the 23-year-old Frenchman from Nice. "But it was a tough race and to be honest I was happy to see the chequered flag!"
Bianchi admitted that it had been a difficult final stint on worn tyres, which made it difficult to stay ahead of the Caterham car driven by his compatriot Charles Pic.
"Towards the end of the race though I had to focus on the tyre management more while ensuring that I kept the gap to Pic behind me," he said. "Those final laps seemed to last for an eternity but we got the right result in the end."
Despite Bianchi getting a good start to the Chinese GP, Pic had managed to get the jump on him with a slightly shorter first stint on the soft options tyres for the Caterham, leaving the Marussia man concerned that his perfect record beating Chilton, Pic and Giedo van der Garde in every race to date this season might be in jeopardy.
"I spent the next two stints making up the time before retaking track position at the third round of pitstops," he said," which put him behind the Williams of Pastor Maldonado for the remainder of the afternoon. "I was running with Maldonado and it was encouraging that I was able to maintain the gap to him for quite some time.
"Overall it was an enjoyable race, certainly my most challenging yet," he said. "I think we have all learned even more about the tyres today. I think we have made another good step."
"We predicted a challenging race today and it certainly did keep the engineers on their toes and the drivers very keenly focused on what they needed to do," agreed Marussia team principal John Booth. "Both Jules and Max did a great job to keep their heads down and drive very strong races, putting up a good fight with the cars around them when they needed to, whilst also keeping one eye on the big picture to ensure the right outcome.
"The weekend has not been without its difficulties, particularly for Max," Booth added, referring to a disrupted FP2 on Friday with technical issues for the British driver. "A short gap before we do it all over again in Bahrain in just seven [sic] days' time, when I hope we will achieve an equally positive outcome - but with a little less pain along the way!"
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