Qualifying took something of a backseat to the Marussia team in Bahrain, as it battled to get to the bottom of a recurring fuel leak problem.
While Jules Bianchi
and Max Chilton
were out-gunned by their peers at Caterham for the first time in 2013, the team's attention was occupied by two fuel spills involving the Frenchman's car in its pit garage, one at the end of morning practice, the other during the qualifying session.
Although television images suggested that the situation may have been more dramatic than it was, with extinguisher foam covering Bianchi's car, team principal John Booth confirmed that there had been no fire, and that the team was confident that there would be no further repeat on race day.
“We now have a better understanding of the problem we experienced in the garage today with Jules' car,” he reported, “This morning, a small amount of fuel was spilt due to an issue with the fuel connector. We examined all the components and made some changes ahead of qualifying, but unfortunately there was a further small fuel spillage this afternoon at the end of the session.
“On both occasions, at no point did the fuel ignite. The car crew were quick to respond with extinguishers as a precautionary measure, entirely in accordance with our procedures, and this served to make the situation appear rather more dramatic than it was.
“Having said that, getting to the root of the issue has been our highest priority, and we are now confident that the measures we have taken will prevent a reoccurrence.”
Bianchi will start his fourth grand prix from the inside of row ten, his 20th qualifying result boosted one spot by Esteban Gutierrez's penalty, but the Frenchman admitted to struggling to find a rhythm at the Sakhir circuit.
“After a positive start to the season, I think it has perhaps been a little frustrating for all of us that we have hit upon a circuit that is not so well-suited to our car,” he conceded, “This happens - up and down the pit-lane - but we have done a good job to stay focused and do what we can to make the best of it here.
“The balance problems we experienced yesterday were quite pronounced and gave us a tough start, but I think the direction we have taken to resolve them is a good one. Overall, we have faith in our race pace and strategy and we will see tomorrow whether or not this was destined to be our race.”