Jules Bianchi’s strong qualifying performance couldn’t help him avoid falling to the back of the grid after he was handed a grid penalty for a gearbox change. The Frenchman crashed during the final practice session which resulted in a damaged gearbox, leading to its replacement and the subsequent grid drop.
The 24-year-old managed to out-qualify the Caterham of Charles Pic and his team-mate Max Chilton, but will drop behind them both due to his five-place penalty. He was happy with his performance in qualifying but is disappointed to see his strong performance go to waste.
“It has not been a good day on my side, so to work hard together to come back from that is a big plus and I am happy with my final run, which was good enough to split the Caterhams,” he said.
“In FP3 I had a problem at the rear which pushed me off track and into a spin. Thankfully I was able to avoid hitting the wall too hard but there was damage to the gearbox which meant that we needed to change.”
He added: “It is disappointing to have a good lap in qualifying to recover from FP3, only to then have a penalty that will mean I have to start from the back. We will work to find a good strategy to get ahead of the competition.”
Chilton qualified the second Marussia in 22nd place, seven tenths off his team-mate, but will move up one place at the cost of his team-mate. He suffered a DRS issue during qualifying which lost him time: “It has been a difficult day overall but particularly in qualifying with the DRS issue. On the first laps of the second run I went faster, but on my second flying lap there was nothing left in the tyres, which is disappointing because I think Jules and I would have been pretty close again when it counted. Looking at what I lost from DRS and also by doing three laps versus one lap, we can say that the time loss was significant.”
Looking ahead to the race, he added: “However, tomorrow is another day and we’ll be pushing to make it a positive one.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic