21 May 2014
Monaco looms to threaten Chilton's F1 record
Yet to post a DNF in his F1 career, Marussia's Max Chilton knows that this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix presents opportunity and threat in equal measure.
Max Chilton continues to rack up race finishes to extend his record 'unbeaten streak' in motorsport's top flight, but has mixed emotions as the toughest event on the calendar looms on the horizon.
The Briton has now completed 24 straight races since his F1 debut in Melbourne last year, but knows that Monaco presents both opportunity and challenge in equal measure for the Marussia team. The Principality's narrow streets are infamous for their ability to catch out even the best drivers, but Chilton can look back on the 2013 race with an added sense of pride, for not only did he make the chequered flag, but did so in the highest position he would all season.
“Next to my home race at Silverstone, there's no better atmosphere than at the Monaco Grand Prix - it's electric,” the 24-year old, who finished on the Monaco GP2 podium in 2012, admitted, “It's perhaps the most demanding race on the calendar but, at the same time, a fantastic experience from start to finish.
“I really enjoy the track's unique challenges and, last year, I secured my best result of the season there, so I'll be hoping for more of the same - if not better.”
Chilton and Marussia enjoyed a surprise boost between the Spanish and Monaco rounds when a late flying lap allowed the Briton to top the opening day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya. While no-one at the Banbury-based team is expecting a miracle result in Monaco, the achievement is seen as another sign of the team's continuing progress.
“Although we aren't expecting the timesheets to read in quite the same way as the Barcelona test, what we can be encouraged by is the work we have done to improve the set-up of the car and we can now translate those improvements through to the next events, to help us achieve a realistic next step over the course of a race weekend,” Chilton acknowledged.
Team principal John Booth is equally pragmatic, knowing that, this weekend, his two pilots will play as big a part in achieving a good result as any developments on the car. Marussia currently holds a slim edge over fellow backmarker Caterham in the race for tenth in the constructors' standings, but Booth is well aware that Monaco has the potential to turn that situation on its head.
“On the one hand, this is an event that calls for plenty of preparation and focus; on the other, we have to place a great deal of faith in the skill of the drivers, as this forms a major part of a team's overall performance in this race,” he confirmed, “
“We head to Monaco off the back of a very successful two days of testing in Barcelona last week but, of course, the two circuits are very different, therefore plenty of homework has still been required to prepare for this race and the business of adapting our set-up developments to suit the very specific demands of this track will continue right the way through this week.
“This is a tough and challenging weekend but one where the rewards can be significant if everything comes together. We are in a good place in development terms and it would be nice to see that progress continue in Monaco.”
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