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Bianchi has his wing clipped by first lap scrap

13 May 2013

A great start off the line in Barcelona at the start of the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix only ended up putting Marussia's Jules Bianchi in the firing line for trouble on the first lap of the race on Sunday.

The front wing of Bianchi's car was tagged in the first lap melee, and after taking a lap to see how badly it affected the car's handling the Frenchman had no option but to come in at the end of lap 2 for a replacement which dropped him to the back of the field.

From there it was a case of getting his head down and keep plugging away: he gained four positions by the end of the race which he completed on what would have been a three-stop strategy if not for that early damage.

"I feel like I drove a really hard race today but there is not so much to show for it," a disappointed Bianchi said after the race. "I am obviously pleased to have had three strong middle stints, but the damage was done in the opening few laps when I had to pit for a new nose.

"I think we recovered well from this and had we not had the extra stop we could have been fighting with Bottas today," he said, suggesting that he felt he was a contender for 16th place if not for that earlier issue. "Our lap time was much faster than theirs and I managed to get the gap down to eight seconds in the final stint, but pushing so hard stretched the tyres too much and I had to back off to just focus on getting the car home.

"It was a race that demanded all my concentration and I certainly put all of the tyre management experience I have gained in the first four races to good use today," he added. "It was quite an exhausting day but one which also had some positive highlights. I will focus on these and hope for better things in my home race in Monaco."

Both Marussias were two laps off the leaders by the end of the race, with Bianchi managing to finish ahead of his team mate Max Chilton after the Englishman was beset with a slow start off the line and then a subsequent problem that cost him time on pit lane.

"It was disappointing to have such a problematic start to the race and then we had the pit stop issue, which was a further setback," said Chilton. "What is encouraging is my lap time in free air today, which I'm pretty pleased with, and it's good to be able to demonstrate more of my outright pace than I've been able to over the past few races.

"If we can get on top of some of these problems we can really start to come into our own a bit more."

Chilton added that he was excited and very much looking forward to Monaco in two weeks time, which he described as one of his favourite races of the entire year.

"I'll be doing everything I can to prepare for my first time out in a F1 car there," he said, having already competed on the prestigious street circuit in six races in the GP2 Series between 2010 and 2012, finishing in second place in his final campaign there last year. "Hopefully we can enjoy a better reward for our efforts."


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