Jules Bianchi believes progression into the second segment of qualifying would have been possible around the Monte-Carlo street circuit, providing the Frenchman’s final flying had not been impeded by the yellow flags caused by Marcus Ericsson’s collision with Felipe Massa. Once again the gap between the Anglo-Russian outfit and the rest of the field was incredibly close, with Bianchi only +0.6 seconds behind the Sauber of Adrian Sutil.
Admittedly progressing into the second segment of qualifying would have been a tall order for Jules Bianchi in the Marussia, however the Banbury-based outfit’s recent improvements in qualifying pace has led to the gap to the remainder of the midfield such as Sauber and Lotus being diminished greatly. Although neither Jules Bianchi or Max Chilton have yet to progress into the second segment of qualifying so far this season, the team’s improvements over the last twelve months alone have been incredibly impressive as they have not only lowered the gap to the midfield drastically, but have also managed to open up a gap to their arch-rivals Caterham in the frenetic battle for tenth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Once again both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton managed to out-qualify the Caterham duo of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson, with the latter clashing with the Williams of Felipe Massa and ultimately preventing anyone else from improving during the latter stages of the opening segment. The subsequent yellow flags which were flown greatly hindered Jules Bianchi and the Sauber duo, with both under the impression that progression into Q2 was a possibility. With the gap ebbing flowing between just over half a second and a whole second between Marussia and the midfield, Jules Bianchi is confident that his team can enjoy a competitive 78-lap race.
“It would have been tight to make it to Q2, but I think it was a possibility,” enthused Jules Bianchi. “My first run was okay but the second one was compromised by the yellow flags and traffic and I lost around 0.5s, with no chance of improving. Looking at the positives though, we were 0.6s off the Saubers, so taking into account the lost time I am encouraged by our pace to them. We have been pretty close all weekend, so now we have to make it work in the race. I think we can have a good fight tomorrow and give a nice reward for the team.”
Over the past year Marussia have undoubtedly improved tremendously towards the rear of the order, finally thwarting Caterham to tenth in the Constructors’ Championship last season and already sitting comfortably in tenth once again after only five races with two 13th place finishes courtesy of Max Chilton. With their first points-scoring finish clearly just around the corner, the traditional high rate of attrition around the Monte-Carlo street circuit could well favour the Anglo-Russian outfit during tomorrow’s 78-lap race.
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