It was back down to earth with a bump for Marussia come race day at Spa-Francorchamps, as their cars slumped to the bottom of the field, a disappointing result coming just a day after the team achieved its best ever qualifying result in Formula One.
Starting 15th and 16th on the grid, the team were hopeful that they would be able to capitalise should the weather interfere with the race, as it had done so on Saturday during qualifying, but ultimately the rain never came and the pair of Marussia cars rapidly slipped back through the field.
Jules Bianchi, who finished the race in 18th, some fifty seconds behind Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde and suffered throughout the race with a radio issue, explained that without the wet weather to level the playing field, there was very little he could do as his MR02 simply lacked pace in the dry.
“It was a tough race today, made more difficult by the fact that I had a radio problem from the start.
“Our pace was not as good as we hoped for, which was a shame”, said the 24-year-old. “Although it was going to be hard to hang on to our grid positions if it didn’t rain, we were looking for something more after a good result yesterday. As it remained dry we were not presented with the sort of opportunities we were hoping might come our way.”
Yet the Frenchman remains upbeat that despite a poor final result at the Belgian Grand Prix, his Marussia team still lead their rivals Caterham in the Constructors Championship.
“However, we did get a two-car finish and also we continue to hold position in the championship, so we will now look to Monza for more of an improvement we hope.”
Max Chilton in the second Marussia was not just frustrated with the overall result on the day, but more so by the teams wasted efforts, having thoroughly prepared for rain that had ultimately failed to materialise come raceday.
“A long race today, not just in terms of laps and lap distance, but more the fact that the dry conditions made the race quite uneventful for us.
“The threat of rain meant that we had thought through and prepared for so many different scenarios, so we would be in a position to capitalise on any opportunity to move up the order, but as it turned out much of the homework was not required.”
John Booth, Marussia’s Team Principal was equally disappointed, admitting it was difficult to accept such a result following such an impressive performance on Saturday.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic