It was a “frustrating” start to Jules Bianchi’s Italian Grand Prix weekend on Friday after a mistake laden run in Free Practice Two at Monza.
After missing the morning session, having stepped aside for Rodolfo Gonzalez, Bianchi had to wait until the afternoon for his first taste of Monza in the MR02, but an over-exuberance to make up for lost time cost him as he made a number of off-track excursions, most notably at the Curva Di Lesmo 2, in what was a messy session for the highly-rated Frenchman.
However, despite a trying Friday in which he propped up the timesheets in FP2, the 24-year-old remains positive that he can reverse his fortunes for the rest of the weekend and is hopeful that the expected wet weather will play into Marussia’s favour, as it did on Saturday in Spa.
“Today was a little frustrating for me as I had a lot to achieve in just one afternoon session, so I was pushing hard and perhaps forcing myself into a couple of mistakes,” said Bianchi. “This cost us in terms of consistency and although we have completed the programme, I feel there is quite a bit more to come from me and the car.
“It has been very warm so far but we need to plan some alternative scenarios as there is a strong chance of the weather changing later in the weekend. I hope this evening will allow us to play catch-up a little more so we can enjoy a smoother day for me tomorrow.”
Max Chilton, in contrast to Bianchi had a much smoother days running and is eager to see his Marussia team maintain their bright start to the weekend in Italy, having himself outpaced the Caterham’s of Heikki Kovalainen and Giedo van der Garde in FP1 and FP2 respectively.
“I am obviously quite happy with the first day of running here,” said the Briton. “We’ve had a smooth couple of sessions and made good progress through each, so to end the day ahead of my nearest competitors is a nice reward.
“We have done a lot of work to optimise our package for here, as low downforce circuits have not always played to the strengths of our car. We seem to have chosen a good direction though, the balance is good and let’s hope we can maintain this momentum through the rest of the weekend.”
Rodolfo Gonzalez, who stood in for Bianchi in FP1, was thrilled with his first experience of Monza in Formula One machinery and added that he was satisfied with the evaluation work that he carried out on the Anglo-Russian team’s Monza specification package.
“It was nice to have the opportunity to drive FP1 at such a legendary circuit as Monza this morning” said the Venezuelan. “It’s a beautiful track and a fantastic experience in an F1 car.
“My programme was mainly aero focused, to enable the Team to start to evaluate the low downforce set-up we have here. Everything went according to plan and I am happy that my feedback is playing a role in moving us forward through the weekend.”
Marussia Team Principal John Booth was encouraged with the day’s work and is optimistic of a strong weekend for the Banbury-based-squad, but insists that it is too early to make predictions for the weekend based solely on Friday’s times.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic