Bianchi also struggled early on with a gearbox problem which meant he had to make an unscheduled stop for a steering wheel change. That resolved the problem but he soon came into trouble with tyre degradation, having to drop back and ultimately lose out in the fight with the lead Caterham.
Discussing his race in a team statement he said: “I was hoping for better today but the first half of the race didn’t go at all well for me. Just as I was stopping for the first time I lost the gears and I was worried it was mechanical but we stopped again to change the steering wheel and the problem thankfully went away. The second stint was tough because I was so far back by then and it was looking like it would be a very long and lonely race, also hitting the blue flag phase much earlier than usual.”
However, the appearance of the safety car on lap 25 helped his cause: “When the Safety Car came out it helped enormously as we were able to catch up and unlap ourselves. After struggling with traction initially I was then able to get into a good rhythm with strong pace. I was quicker but whilst trying to pass my team-mate my tyres went away completely and we had to stop again much earlier than plan. After that, having seen the degradation we were incurring trying to push, I had no option but to hold back but at least I was able to gain a place when Pic stopped again at the end. Some difficult points in the race but what matters is the Team result.”
Max Chilton finished ahead of his team-mate – a rarity so far this season – and finished ahead of Charles Pic as well. The Brit was pleased with his performance: “What started off as quite a tough race with the balance then thankfully improved and in the end it was not a bad race for us. Once again we got another two car finish out of it which is good for the Team and we maintain our 10th place in the Championship.”
He continued: “The degradation was quite high and it was a tough challenge to manage the tyres and still try to push for opportunities with Caterham, which came along when Pic stopped late in the race enabling us to gain an extra place. Overall I’m pleased with my first night race and have enjoyed the whole Singapore experience.”
The Banbury based squad continue to hold 10th in the constructors standings thanks to Bianchi’s 13th place in the Malaysian Grand Prix.