A poor start meant that Caterham's Giedo van der Garde dropped behind the Marussia of Jules Bianchi at the start of Sunday's race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and that turned out to rather seal his fate for rest of the United States GP.

"I didn't have a good start and was behind Bianchi at the end of the first lap," the Dutch driver lamented after finishing in 19th place, one position behind his French rival. "From there it wasn't possible to pass him.

"Even though I had a quicker car round the whole lap, his straightline speed was better than mine and every time I got close my front tyres started graining because the car was understeering a lot," he explained. "I couldn't make a move past him stick. Sometimes it's like this, there's not much you can do when you're so evenly matched."

Obviously the view from Bianchi's seat proved a much more upbeat one. "I'm really happy with the race I drove as we were easily able to keep both Caterhams behind," he said. "The start was good - enough to put me ahead of van der Garde.

"It's fair to say that today was the toughest race of the season for me," With just the one pitstop, switching from the Medium to the Hard tyre, it was a really long race with so much of my focus being given to looking after the tyres."

Van der Garde's team mate Charles Pic overcame his Saturday gearbox change penalty to finish one place back in 20th place, having got ahead of Max Chilton at the start even before the Marussia driver served his drive-thru penalty for impeding rivals in qualifying.

"Off the line I passed Chilton and was right behind Giedo and Bianchi at the end of the first lap," he recalled. "However, the car balance today was the same as it's been all weekend, just not quite there, which meant I couldn't push at all.

"I was keeping up with my teammate for the whole race," he added. "But we just didn't have the pace today to put in the normal sort of race performance we've seen for most of the season."

Pic was also hit by a late drive-thru for not responding blue flags quickly enough which cost him more time, although he still finished ahead of Chilton who was a lap off the others - and two off the leaders - by the end of the 56-lap race.

"Heading into this race with the drive-through penalty to serve, I was always aware that this would be a tough and lonely race for me," the Briton sighed. "I lost 15 seconds in the pitlane and the reality is that you are simply going to hit the blue flag phase much earlier and pay a hefty price for that in the second half of the race.

"I'm pleased with the job I did to try to play catch-up and I think my fastest lap reflects that," he added, perking up a little. "Unfortunately the other factors defined my race. On the bright side, I've finished yet another race - my 18th out of 18 - and the car is performing well versus the Caterhams, so we'll throw everything we have at the final race next weekend."

Chilton already quietly added himself into the F1 record books at Abu Dhabi by being the first driver to successfully finish the first 17 races of his Grand Prix career without a single retirement. If he can achieve the same feat again next week in Brazil then it would raise that to 19 without a single retirement for his entire rookie season in the sport.



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