25 November 2013
Brazilian Grand Prix: Marussia rewarded after ‘character-building season’
Marussia held on to tenth place in the F1 constructors' standings after another close battle with Caterham in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Marussia team was finally able to breathe a little easier at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix, having held on to tenth place in the F1 constructors' championship.
Although the Banbury outfit again had to give best to Caterham in qualifying at Interlagos, it managed to get both cars to the end of the 71-lap race and, with its rival unable to achieve the minimum 13th place it needed to take over the final paying place in the standings, Marussia's best year-long result was assured.
The minnow had occupied tenth overall since Jules Bianchi's crossed the line 13th in Malaysia, and team principal John Booth admitted that it hadn't been an easy ride over the intervening 17 races.
“This has certainly been a character-building season,” he acknowledged, “At the beginning, we had a clear advantage over Caterham, then we lost some ground during the middle part of the year. Over the final long-haul phase, we have pushed extremely hard, caught up and enjoyed some proper racing with them, with our performance in Austin last weekend underlining our continued progress and providing the perfect prelude to the finale here.
“Although we have held on to tenth place in the championship all season, we still had to cross the line at the finale in order to get the job done. The Brazilian Grand Prix is renowned for being one of the most chaotic races on the calendar, so we needed to have our wits about us throughout the full 71 laps, especially as there was the constant threat of rain.
“With zero dry running before going to the grid, today was a tough ask of our two young drivers, who have never driven at this circuit before and had to go out there and be on it from lap one. They were improving at every stage of the race and towards the end, in very damp conditions, Jules was running exceptionally well on the prime tyre and pulling away from [Giedo] van der Garde. Although we encountered a few light showers, the way the race eventually panned out meant that no one was going to challenge our position today.”
With Charles Pic retiring from 17th place, well short of Caterham's requirement, Bianchi eventually came out on top of the minnow battle.
“I got a fantastic start once again and the opening lap was strong,” he said of getting ahead of the Caterhams, “However, a few laps in, I struggled with some graining on the medium tyre and it was really tough to drive round this, which caused me to have to yield the place.
“I knew it was all about the long game and just sticking with it, though, knowing that the balance would be much better on the prime hard tyre. I dug in and drove as fast as I could on the next two stints to make as much progress as possible, and it is nice that not only have we got tenth [in the championship] today, but also that we finished ahead of Caterham again.
Well done to everyone in the team on a fantastic season and thanks for all the hard work and dedication to providing us with the best car possible right until the end. This has been a very important and rewarding year for me personally, and I can't wait for us to take that to the next level together in 2014.”
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